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Is a home church a biblical church?

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PastorMatt
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Well,  a church is group of believers covenanted together to worship and serve Jesus Christ.  Such a church is led by a pastor with one wife and more than one child among other qualifications and this church was not created by any one individual, but was planted by another scriptural New Testament Church.

 

In 1976 a church in Auburndale, Florida planted a church in Fort Pierce, Florida.  For a time the church met at my pastor's home, then they moved into a christian college's spaces and finally bought land and built a traditional church building that has been expanded several times since.

 

So if some lady has a vision to start a church and plays christian rock out by the pool before services which are conducted in her spare bedroom, no, that's not a New Testament Church of the kind that Jesus Christ began during his earthly ministry.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Our latest work, Victory Baptist Church, as our previous works, was started in our home with just me and my wife and children.

Today we have a congregation meeting in a rented building with a Building Fund (most of the funds, over 50 percent cent,  come from our converts and church members, on the field). Hopefully, the church will purchase their own building in a year or so.

At the beginning, a house church is necessary. As time goes on, and souls get saved, it becomes necessary to have a building. We not only have church services in the building, but we have a Bible Institute (very small), also. Therefore, in order for the church to continue to grow in members, and opportunities, to serve the Lord Jesus, a building is necessary, desirable, and of the Lord.

The example of the Temple in the Old Testament is our guide.

At first, the Lord instructed the Jews to build a tent, the Tabernacle, in order to hold worship services. As time progressed David desired a better structure for the Lord and, probably,  clearly saw that a tent structure was inadequate for the crowds of people. God, I repeat, God, felt the same. God, not man, instructed David in the preparation of the Temple building and surrounding court yards, and instructed King Solomon, through the direct teaching of the Holy Spirit, on the design of the Temple.

Furthermore, God, not man, will also instruct the Lord Jesus on the building of the Millennial Temple during His reign: Ezekiel Chapter 40-48 I would not be surprised, due to the world wide reign of the Lord Jesus, that the Millennial Temple will be huge; much more in land size than Solomon's Temple.

Therefore, by the example of God Almighty, a church will of necessity be small in the beginning, and as time goes on, and souls get saved, a larger facility is needed.

In conclusion, initially, meeting in a house, or a small storefront, is often necessary. As time goes on, for the ministry to continue to grow, a building to must be procured.

 

Edited by Alan
grammer added a phrase concerning David
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think about the descriptions in the first part of Acts and notice that the size of the church at Jerusalem made meeting in anyone's house unlikely.

You can of course, but a church that size? No, they met somewhere else.

And of course the "Home church" movement around today is unbiblical for many reasons.

Where you meet is a side issue. Doctrine is what matters. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I also wonder about this verse:

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Now we all often will say that the church is not the building, but this verse doesn't say "come together AS a church", but IN the church.....

The coming together is the assembling, the word "in" is specifically talking about location.

Is this the way we sometimes use the word church to designate the building that church meets in, and which we sometimes get on people for using the word that way?

But it is only the once, so let's not make too much out of it.

And it does not designate where and what form the "in the church" takes.

Edited by DaveW
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Matt.18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

1 Cor.6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

1 Cor.6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

1 Cor.12:12-14
 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
 For the body is not one member, but many."

I suppose it all depends on what one believes... what they've been indoctrinated to believe? Or what God's word says?

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  • Members

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

In the Church...

The Church is not a brick-and-mortar edifice.  It is a living, breathing organism.  God no longer dwells in Temples made with hands, but now dwells in a people.

"When ye come together in the Church" simply means "when ye come together as a Body... because... the Church is a Body. 

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the Body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Christ's Body is not brick and mortar.  It is those who have trusted Him as the propitiation for their sin.

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 A church is not its building; a church is a congregation of believers.

I do not believe the Home church movement is scriptural, although it is, as someone already said, a necessity in the beginning of a new church because of size.

And as someone also pointed out already, the church will outgrow the house, as long as the church is led by a godly Pastor & he is ordained according to Biblical requirements & he is teaching from the KJB & preaching hard against sin & going soul winning regularly. 

I have not encountered a church who did all those things & STILL remained small enough to meet in an average size (2,500 sq. ft. +/-) home after several years.

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There are some really good points in this thread. I would hold to the view that a church must be properly organized, with a pastor and membership, and as long as it is such, it really doesn't matter where they meet. A 'home church' of the kind where a father is having devotions with his family in their house is not a proper Church.

I could see the first NT churches meeting in houses because they didn't have anywhere else to meet, at first, much like some churches nowadays.

In the Canadian/American culture, a church that meets only in a home is not necessarily taken seriously by the community at large, and may be looked on with suspicion by possible visitors. Even a storefront/meeting room location isn't great (although a lot of our IFB churches meet here by necessity). Rightly or wrongly, a church is not seen to be legitimate unless it meets in a designated 'church building'.

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While I agree that the "home church movement" is either misinformed (ie. during many later years of the Roman Empire Christians met in homes -- they did so due to persecution, arrest and death. Not due to "early church pattern) or hippy, "anti-establishment" attitude, home churches are necessary some places. In North Korea you can't use a building for a church, you can't let the community know you have a Bible, etc.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Yep, as I and I think Pastor J said, the place is irrelevant.

A church can meet in a home or another building. What makes the difference is the doctrine.

The "Home church movement" is a doctrinally incorrect group, but that has nothing to do with meeting in homes and everything to do with their doctrine.

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  • Members

The form of coming together in a public meeting run by a religious organisation is only one way for believers to gather, I believe. In the early gatherings of the believers there were many ways they shared, prayed and were taught. Also there was participation by all.  It seems to me that the lecture type services that have developed over the years have come to mean - legitimate and all else not legitimate. 

Something to bear in mind is that an organisation is actually a `business/charity` and as such they are coming more and more under the control of the governments, requiring them to bow to their worldly values. Eventually the government will shut down those that do not adhere to their demands.

regards, Marilyn. 

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I suppose another question would be that should a church meet in a dedicated building?

When in France some years ago, we met a man who said he followed J N Darby, who when we invited him to come to a church service with us, he gave us a list of scriptures which spoke about the church that met in a home.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Members

Being an outsider, i am reluctant to write anything, but for some reason cannot resist.  This is my first post.  My family tree is full of Anabaptists.  After trying everything else, and being baptized in an independent Christian church, i joined a small Mennonite church but it turned out that Mennonite Church USA is just as far gone as the UCC.  The last church i visited was a New Testament IBC and it seemed right, but we have been trying to relocate as my wife grapples with the idea of retirement.   It is a protracted process. Our future retirement home is located in a town that has an IBC.  So, I have been browsing this website for several weeks.

For over a decade I have been hosting a small group in my home.  This has been a highlight of my life because i love scripture, but i will be the first to admit that it is not really a substitute for church.  I am not a pastor, despite having some relevant online graduate education.  Heck, i would not qualify as an elder since my notion of being hospitable is to open a package of fig newtons or oreos.  On the hand, the folks who developed Victory Bible Study got it right when they said that pastors can ruin the group process.  

Anyway, a couple of posts on an older thread here were made by people who were not able to attend churches regularly due to distance.  At least one asked if it was ok to be satellites linked to a distant church.  That idea was shut down, but it seems like a practical solution to me.  Would it be unwise to suggest it to a pastor?  

 

 

 

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On 11/10/2019 at 9:13 PM, JimR said:

One asked if it was ok to be satellites linked to a distant church.  That idea was shut down, but it seems like a practical solution to me.  Would it be unwise to suggest it to a pastor? 

The Bible talks about a local church, with pastor(s) deacons, answerable to God. It seems to me that a distant pastor and deacons would be unable to live with, serve and lead a congregation as they are supposed to.  Any satellite churches would then, practically, need their own pastor, etc., and when they have a pastor, they are now a church in their own right and don't need to be a satellite!  That's my thought on the issue, anyways. 

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