Q. The majority of Americans believe that alternatives to church are a Biblical way to practice one’s faith. The Christian Post, Feb. 18, 2008, reports that non-church alternatives included activities at home with family (89%); house church (75%); religious TV (69%); and religious Radio (68%). Is Non-Church Worship Biblical?
A. What a mockery of God’s teaching about the Church! As important as the family is, it is not the Church. And religious TV and Radio cannot take the place of the Church. As for “house churches”, it depends on one’s definition. A proper New Testament Church can meet in a house, its own building or in the woods. The location is irrelevant.
For a Church to be Scriptural, it must be founded upon the Headship of Jesus Christ, and His teachings, Heb 6:1-3, and comprise those who are born again. Its membership is not some kind of personal preference, except that preference be God’s, since it is He Who sets believers in the Body “as it hath pleased Him”, 1 Cor 12:18. It should operate according to Biblical principles, especially in the ordination of qualified leaders, Acts 14:23, the maintenance of a strong Biblical doctrinal foundation (1 Tim 1:3), a Biblical disciplinary system (1 Cor 5), and a proper Biblical objective – the fulfilment of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:44-48; Acts 1:8).
Paul wrote to Titus, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). There were believers in Crete and doubtless Christian families too, but they needed to be organized into proper churches and elders (pastors) ordained. Today, though, there is widespread resistance to pastoral authority. While some pastors have abused their authority, and we totally oppose this, that is no excuse to reject the Biblical pattern of the Church.
Read: 1 and 2 Timothy for Paul’s guidance to Timothy. 1 Tim 3:15 captures the kernel of this teaching; “that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God.”
Read: Heb 10:25 for God’s Word on the way we ought to gather faithfully, and encourage each other with a passion.
Read: Heb 13:17 for His instruction on how we should relate to the oversight He sets over His churches; real and profitable care!