Celebrating our One Year Blog Anniversary (5th of 6). Critics Express their Objections to the “Two Structures” Theory.

I have learned a lot by listening to critics. Today we gather the objections to the “two structures” theory and let the critics speak for themselves.

I think the two structures theory is “really there” in the New Testament and in history. However, not everyone agrees. Well-known critics include J. Eckhardt Schnabel, Bruce Camp and Mark Dever. We will let the critics speak for themselves in these five blogs.

Critics of the “Two Structure” Theory Express Their Objections

J. Eckhard Schnabel’s Objection Considered

Bruce Camp’s Objection Considered

Mark Dever’s Objection Considered

How One Denomination Expelled a Pastor for Joining a Mission Society

Blincoe: I have tried to listen to critics of the “two structures” theory and consider the merit of their objections. In the main, critics feel shocked that the theory seems to diminish the importance of the church. “Bob, are you criticizing the church? It is the bride of Christ.” I do not think I am criticizing the church, though I do not think “church” is the right translation of the word ekklesia. Congregation (Tyndale’s term, as here.) is probably a better translation. Martin Luther did not use the word kirche; he used congregation (gemeinde, as here). I would add that the church is the body of Christ. Every cell in the body is made of a double helix molecule. One helice is the entire congregation. The other helice is the small groups of Christians who find one another and pledge themselves to a certain mission. Every cell in the body of Christ is comprised of this pairing, the entirety of the whole congregation and the particularity of smaller, voluntary mission associations. Thus, the double helix helps us illustrate the “two structures” nature of the body of Christ.

After answering critics the best I can, and after considering the merit of their objections, I would ask them, “Have you considered the Biblical Basis of mission agencies? If the “two structures” theory is “really there,” are you able to change your minds?” I have learned that some people have “made up their minds.” They cannot change their minds. Thomas Kuhn, professor of the history of science at the University of Berkeley determined that some scientists cannot change their minds. They resist a new paradigm, despite compelling new evidence.

Read a summary of Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions here: Some Experts May Not Be Able to Change Their Minds

And here: Thomas Kuhn’s Theory May Explain Resistance to Ralph Winter’s “Two Structures” Theory”