In a letter “To Dutch Christians” dated August, 1942, K. Barth had this to say about groups not unlike Chicago Invitation. The Sitz em Leben is different of course. And one can certainly argue with Barth’s ecclesiology. But he wrote this:
“Official ecclesiastical bodies the world over, and in the most favourable cases, usually deliver themselves of nomore than half-true, weak, and partly binding decisions. Even without evil intent, they are complelled to think to a certain degree not only of the Gospel but also of their statutes and finances, the external unity and preservation of the church, the relationship to state authority, and so forth.
“The church would be blameworthy if, in addition to those burdened with official leadership, it did not always have a free vanguard. Without breaking directly with the leadership, such groups take upon themselves the responsibility for placing before the whole congregation ecclesiastical questions which they have investigated independently–fundamental questions generally omitted from the decisions of official church councils and synods.
“Since the government of the Christian church is the concern of the entire Christian community, it must be visible to all. Thus, with due respect for their office, ecclesiastical authorities should not be shielded from the controlling influence and limited competition provided by the activity of such independent groups. This activity cannot be schismatic if an dfor long as it is seriously directed to the internal unity and preservation of the church.”