Mouse reminded us, "we are warned about deception from ANYONE", from the Garden of Eden on down to today, and certainly we need to be aware that temptation to become power-hungry can afflict even the Church!
How did the early Christian church get "organised"? Well, first Jesus called His disciples (Matthew 5:18--Andrew, Peter, James, John; and the rest of them [Matthew 10:1-4]). All the disciples sat at Jesus' feet and followed Him, so that they might learn from Him.
And one of them, as we know, was Judas Iscariot, who would later betray the Lord (Matthew 10:4).
Why am I going through this elementary passage that we all learned when we were very young? First, to show that in the beginning of the Church, there was no real power struggle among the disciples until the doting mother of James and John came boldly up to ask the Lord to give them "seats on His right hand and on His left in the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 20:20-21; but see Matthew 25:34ff if you want to know who is qualified to sit with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven!). Jesus prevented power struggles by constantly reminding His disciples that whoever would be greatest among them must be the servant of all (Luke 22:26; John 13:13-14). And He gave them all, especially Peter, the great example of the washing of the feet: John 13:4-8. Looking especially at v. 8 there, we see that Jesus singles out Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me...." and then v. 9: Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."
So there we have St. Peter, who would later deny Christ three times and after the Resurrection be restored (John 21:15-18). And if we wonder what Jesus' plan for His Church was, we need only read His high-priestly prayer in John 17: that they all may be one, even as Thou, Father, and I are one.
Sigh. We are definitely not one, we members of His Body the Church. We are all split up, mostly by power struggles that may have begun as early as the rivalries between one disciple and another, then stretched on to St. Paul's troubles with the Church of Corinth, and on to today. We've had wars and all kinds of persecutions over who gets to run the Church. And those struggles have been found in every church, from the great St. Peter's in Rome, down to the enormous Baptist Conventions or Presbyterian Assemblies or Methodist Conferences or Episcopalian General Conventions, and from St. Polly's-By-the-Pond in Devon, England all the way down from there to the tiny "Fire-Baptised Holiness Church of Bear Creek, Mississippi" (I made up those last two church names!). Not to mention the non-denominational mega-churches and the congregations of the various televangelists....
And we've just lost the very holy wife of the greatest evangelist of our time, the beautiful, wonderful, Ruth Graham, who leaves her brilliant and saintly husband and her fine children to carry Christ's banner forward. When Billy Graham dies, I can assure you that Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church will weep, and the Bishop of Rome will also weep. And we too will mourn, for a long time.
These days, while we're discussing the Catholic (which means Universal) Church, it seems to me that the central force keeping us all apart is the centralisation of power, albeit only spiritual power, in the person of the Bishop of Rome. All sorts of excuses are made for this centralisation of power. The most amusing one I ever heard concerned Pope Pius IX, "Pio Nono", of whom a friend of mine who was about to become a Roman Catholic said, "Don't be so hard on the Popes; remember, Pio Nono had to compete with Queen Victoria!"
Putting aside our other differences over all those other things--sacraments, geographical territory, you name it--the single most serious matter in my humble opinion that needs to be solved before the Church can be truly One again is .... wait for it .... papal infallibility. We've got to forget the 19th-century excuse that "it's too hard to organise an ecumenical council because of logistical difficulties", and, it seems to me, we have all got to cleanse our hearts and repent of our own many, many sins, before we can see a way to correct whatever injustices we perceive in other people's churches. Motes and beams, pots and kettles, dontcha know. Now I'm certainly not infallible and I'm certainly not my own little pope with authority to dictate what anybody else must believe. All I have as a "core doctrine" is the Holy Scriptures, really. I can find in the scriptures every line of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed, and I can even find the scriptures the Roman Catholics quote to give support to their other doctrines (e.g., Matthew 18:18).... or for my own church the passage immediately before that one, regarding the privilege of going to the whole Church in case of any dispute.... But bending the scriptures to our own purposes won't even, I fear, easily solve the problem of power in the Church. That will take the Holy Spirit's power to solve. We must pray for that New Pentecost to come, and come soon.
In the last analysis, how centralised do we dare let the temporal power in the Church be?
In my church, the Orthodox Church, we do have bishops and they all have equal "power" (such as it is, in a church where there've been so many persecutions that we really don't have a whole lot of real estate left except in Russia where the churches actually have been given back, many in a hopeless state of disrepair....). For the Orthodox Church to move ahead, we need an ecumenical council with all those bishops from all those countries present, waiting on the Holy Spirit like the disciples waited in the Upper Room at Pentecost. Not an easy thing to organise--it could take 500 years.
They tell a joke on us: How many Orthodox Christians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Change?
We Orthodox (plural: "Orthodoxen" of course!) have a bumper sticker that some of us are brave enough to put on our cars (don't look at me!). It says, "Orthodox Christianity: Disorganised Religion at its Finest!"
We are all stubborn beasts, burden-bearers and balky ones at that. Will anyone try to "pull together" with us, slow as we are?