Founder Effect – Genetic Disorders in the Modern Church

One Church - The Revolution - by Jeremy Binns

Founder Effect – Genetic Disorders in the Modern Church

It’s Basically Inbreeding…

Throughout history we have some unique examples of small families who have become isolated from the rest of society by choice or by circumstance. Over time, these small families have intermarried within their own families and produced children who then went on to intermarry within the same family, and so on throughout repeated generations. 

Something strange begins to happen as this isolated few continue to reproduce children only within their isolated blood line. They begin to experience genetic disorders.

Individuality Becomes Deformity

What started as a small trait that created a unique individual has now morphed into an exaggerated deformity.Initially the changes may be small and un-noticeable.  For instance, let’s assume that both of the founding parents had slightly larger feet than normal. As the successive generations reproduce again and again, the possibility for that genetic trait to become more predominant increases.

Generations down the line, the children have the potential to be marked by excessively large feet. What started as a small trait that created a unique individual has now morphed into an exaggerated deformity.

With physical appearances, this is kind of a bummer, but the effects are often much more severe than just aesthetics. There are many reported diseases and health disorders that are passed down through inbreeding and become dominant traits within the blood line.

Scientists refer to it as the ‘Founder Effect‘, and you can read reports by many that directly attribute the effect of inbreeding within prominent families such as the European royal families and their recurring battle with hemophilia.

Recently, CBS reported that some Amish Communities are being hit hard by genetic disorders. All evidence points to the Founder Effect. The Amish community has isolated itself from the ‘genetic pool’ of mainstream society.  As a result, they are now experiencing their own unique physical problems.

What I’m Really Talking About

A healthy church body will never major on a subject that the Bible minors on.Here’s the deal. Although this is definitely fascinating, I’m not talking about actual physical genetic disorders today. I’m really talking about Genetic Disorders in the Modern Church.

These aren’t physical defects, they are ideological, doctrinal, and spiritual disorders that happen as people within the body of Christ separate themselves from the whole and begin to reproduce their teachings in isolation.

In extreme cases, this is where cults are born. More often though, we see ideas and personal beliefs, that originally made the individuals unique within the greater body of Christ, slowly becoming exaggerated over time until they become disorders.

What do Genetic Disorders in the Modern Church Look Like?

These disorders show up in varying degrees and impact.  Remember, they’re originally just part of what make us unique.

I don’t want to pick on any specific groups, but I do want us to take an honest look at ourselves.  Here’s a basic rule we should always live by. A healthy church body will never major on a subject that the Bible minors on.

Questions to Identify Genetic Disorders in The Modern Church

  1. When an outsider looks at our church, what stands out? If this isn’t a major and recurring theme within scripture, then it is potentially a disorder.
  2. When an insider describes our church, what do they say? Again, if this isn’t a major and recurring theme within scripture, then it is potentially a disorder.
  3. How does our church view other churches? The more significant the disorder, the more likely a church will take an elitist attitude and in extreme cases condemn anyone who is not a part of their church.
  4. How do other churches view our church? It isn’t absolute, but the more people within the greater body of Christ who view aspects of your church as un-scriptural, the more likely they are.
  5. How connected is our church to other churches? Perhaps the greatest indicator of genetic disorders in the modern church is the prevalence of isolation.
  6. Is their easy harmony between the Bible and the teachings of our church? The most important measuring stick of all. The more extreme a genetic defect within a church body is, the more effort they must put into teaching and propagating that belief system.

We must overcome these ‘genetic’ disorders in the modern church that are keeping us isolated from one another. Your spiritual and doctrinal ‘DNA’ is desperately needed by the body of Christ, and likewise you are in desperate need of theirs.

One Church - The Revolution - by Jeremy Binns

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • Tim Thompson

    Jeremy, having grown up in a small country family founded church as a child, with parents that meet in the youth group of this same church, and grandparents that were charter
    members of the same church; I have some direct connection to this topic. I will
    not get into the details of all that ends up being problematic in this environment
    but I’ll say that my wife and I have moved on from this environment to find a
    church on our own with a fresh influx of new blood lines as it were. Keep up
    the insightful thought.

    • Jeremy Binns

      Hi Tim, Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I have quite a few friends with very similar stories to that one, and I know how difficult that choice can be. Blessings in your journey friend.

  • Jo V

    My last church was DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION but I loved them dearly. My personal work now is about why I was willing to settle for so little when I gave so much. Training? Inferority? Mediocrity? Then to move through the separation phases…uncertainty, fear, anger, more fear, relief and back to total church re -entry.
    I feel sorry for unstable. It’s not for sissies. Have no idea why I’m Jo V….it’s jv. :)

    • Jeremy Binns

      If someone has never had to go through a difficult church type separation, then they have no idea how difficult that is. Sounds like we might have some similar experiences. Looking forward to the book.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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