Quick now. When you hear the word “church,” what comes to mind?
Buildings? Pastors? Sermons? Pews? Worship bands? Sundays?
The Sunday morning “service” in the institutional church building is neither described nor prescribed in the New Testament record. The early body always met in homes. And the Greek word for “church” meant the saints of God, the called out ones from the world and it’s deadly ways. People and never real estate.
Why is this vital?
Jesus’ body is to be peacefully united around our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit…and not a denomination and/or lead pastor…also walking worthy in holiness, and dealing with issues of sin and maturity. The local home church elder guided ekklesia (the called-out-of-the-world body, or “church”) is the only God created and anointed design that can fruitfully and consistently achieve this for the kingdom of God.
Our brother the apostle Paul exhorted the early believers in all his church plants to follow the traditions he hand handed down from the Lord:
1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
Both our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul warned against following the traditions of men vs. the Lord’s traditions:
Matthew 15:3, 6b And (Jesus) answered and said to (the religious leaders), “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”
Mark 7:8-9 “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” (Jesus) was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Now then, we turn to the Word of God to see how He recorded exactly where the early church met…
Romans 16:3-5 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church (saints) that is in their house…
1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches (saints) of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church (saints) that is in their house.
Colossians 4:15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church (saints) that is in her house.
Philemon 1:1-2 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church (saints) in your house…
We began this journey from the truth in the 300’s when the Emperor Constantine began using pagan temples to meet when many priests where being saved…and the Emperor made the Christian religion “respectable” to all by meeting in “churches.”
By the time our dear brother and Bible translator William Tyndale arrived on the scene in the early 1500’s, he was burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church and King Henry VIII for this “crime.” He fought valiantly to use the word “congregation” (the saints of God) vs. the “church” (the system of falsely religious leaders).
You may read William Tyndale’s story and watch the feature movie describing his life here.
You may purchase the history of the “church” here in the best-selling excellent book authored by Frank Viola and George Barna.
Two objections to the home church being God’s only design you may hear frequently. The first goes something like this. “Well, in Acts 20 Paul is the pastor in that meeting.” Not so. Paul was the visiting apostle church planter and the Greek word used to describe the method of the meeting mentions a dialog, not a monologue.
The other goes something like this. “God is using the big church.” Yes, He is doing just that in a way…for God will use anything He’s given to try and mature His saints. But, as we say here at Walk Worthy in a graphic way, God uses Asian whore houses too every day to save people but we shouldn’t frequent them!
You may view and download all eight of the New Testament meeting types here.
Beresford Job teaches at “The Fellowship of Truth” meeting on the subject of “Biblical Church – a Challenge to Unscriptural Traditions and Practice.” We appreciate all of brother Beresford’s labors in His vineyard!
While we agree with the majority of his conclusions, we do not agree in the least with his conclusion that women should be “silent” in His meetings. For a thorough treatment of the controversial passages on women in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, see Jon Zens’ excellent work, What’s With Paul and Women?
Please note: Beresford’s audio series Traditions immediately follows a bit later on below…
There are about as many forms of church government as there are forms of national government: dictatorships (with a Pope, head bishop, or pastor with no accountability), republics (with a ruling presbytery of elders), democracies (where decisions are made by a majority vote of the congregation), or some combination thereof.
But what form of church government do we find in the New Testament? Surprisingly, it is none of the above.
In this intriguing video, Steve Atkerson, president of the New Testament Reformation Fellowship (NTRF), argues persuasively that the New Testament form of church government is elder-led congregational consensus.
Watch this fascinating video to discover why.
Elder-Led Congregational Consensus
Dick is a member of the Walk Worthy Advisory Board, and a fine brother to boot! He has planted churches and discipled leaders for decades around the world. He’s the teacher’s teacher, and his spiritual insights on body life and leadership have helped Marc White of Walk Worthy on many occasions. We’re most indebted to Dick and his tireless focus on co-working with our Lord and His body.
We agree with the majority of his conclusions, and thank him for his proclamations! We do not agree with his assessment that there’s no problem with “large churches” in relation to their acceptance and design from God. For our Lord only has one design He created for His children to meet and flourish…and brother Beresford is absolutely correct in calling this one design “biblical church.”
Listen now to the wisdom of God through our dear brother Dick…
House Church Reproduction 1
House Church Reproduction 2
House Church Reproduction 3
House Church Reproduction 3 Questions
House Church Reproduction 4
House Church Reproduction 4 Questions
House Church Reproduction 5 Questions
House Church Reproduction 6 Questions
Marc was first introduced to this revolutionary teaching by Beresford at a southern house church conference in the ’90’s. His careful and meticulous research and presentation was evident in the way he built his case for “biblical church.”
Marc still remembers the significant impact this had on him and others…especially the story of complete surprise regarding the blind man healed by Jesus in John 9 and what that miracle meant to the religious leaders of the day – the Pharisees.
Sit back now and get ready to be informed, challenged…and set straight on many “traditions of men” that have invaded the unbiblical church today…and perhaps own own lives too.
Pragmatism and Mysticism in the Church
What happens when we fail to follow God’s commands for His body in how we meet? Listen as Beresford describes the pragmatism and mysticism that has invaded today’s “church.”
You may download the PDF transcription of this message here.