Question:

You are right in that you say the church is not to be an entertainment organization.

But the picture you put on that site is not the church!

You started out by saying that the church (Did you mean that building in the picture? That isn't the church!)had no kitchen, etc. But, I beg to differ with you on that statement! The 'church' has many kitchens, and such like, but they are just not used in worship services. The church is not the building. In fact, if you want to make sure you are scriptural, stop meeting in a building anywhere, and start meeting in the homes of the members or go back to Jerusalem and meet in 'the temple' (uh oh, no temple!), but, according to what you believe, you may might have to find a 'building' other than the homes of the members because in those homes today are bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, tables, stoves, sinks, clothes washers and dryers, refrigerators, TV, radios, and even guitars and pianos! But does the church use the things mentioned above in their worship of God? The way your site reads, the thought is put out to the world, that what they are looking at when the picture of the 'building' comes up - is the 'CHURCH' - Then you immediately mention 'kitchens, basketball courts, etc. - physical stuff - which ties that picture of the nice physical' 'building' shown there as being the 'church'!

I am a Christian woman, wife of a deceased minister. My husband dedicated his life to preaching the gospel. He went where the church had a building, where they met in 'halls,' and sometimes, where they met in members' homes, where they had kitchens in ALL those places, and even had a basketball court at one of the members' house! The church had food after the services and ate their bread IN THOSE HOMES with thanksgiving and fellowship, but not during the worship!

He has preached in 'tent' meetings, with cars all around the tent, and we have met in school rooms where desks were used with water fountains, and bathrooms, and he preached, and the church worshiped, and people obeyed the Gospel, and were added to the 'church' - not that school building or that tent or the 'house of a member of the church.' If you will show me in the New Testament where the church had a building, I will then accept your telling the 'church everywhere' what the church can or cannot do in that building, after or before they worship there! The only rules laid down for the church are pertaining to what they were to do in 'worship' to God!

Cornelius and his household heard the gospel preached, even received the same Holy Spirit that the apostles did on Pentecost, and obeyed the Gospel in his own home! Afterward, after the water had been brought, and the baptisms were over, Cornelius invited them to stay - and THEY STAYED - and that meant 'eating' in the same 'building' as they had worshiped, had been preached to and baptized in! Whew! There is no activity, that is decent and lawful, that cannot be done in a building used for the church to worship God! You cannot make such rules about the 'church building' shown on your site, because there is NO rule in the New Testament about ANY bought, rented or lent place of worship for the church, EVER, then or now! There are plenty of commandments pertaining to worship, daily living, thoughts, words and actions, as to HOW to please God with our lives, and how to study, and who is to teach whom, etc., but not one word pertaining or regulating what is done in a building before worship or after (other than indecent or unlawful conduct or activity)!


Answer:

A bit hot under the collar today, aren't we? "The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things" (Titus 2:3).

Most of what you are angry about are things you assumed that I meant and not what was said. Yes, there is a small thumbnail image of the building where the church in La Vista meets on the edge of the page. Nothing in the text around the image indicates that we refer to the building as the church, even though technically such is proper by the English definition of the word "church." I prefer to use the English word in a way that is compatible with the Greek word that it translates and so the writings on this site refers to the assembly as the church. By the way, I know the image is small, but you will see members of the church on the deck in the picture, so your argument has no basis, no matter how you slice it.

It is strange that a person who understands that a physical meeting place is not a church, is unable to grasp that church is not an individual Christian or even just a group of Christians. Multiple Christians don't automatically create a church. This is seen in the treatment of an erring brother. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-18). Talking to one brother is not talking to the church. Talking to multiple brethren is not necessarily talking to the church.

What is translated as church in the New Testament is the Greek word ekklesia, which means the called out or an assembly. A church as distinctive gathering times and place:

  • "when you come together as a church" (I Corinthians 11:18)
  • "when you meet together" (I Corinthians 11:20)
  • "So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat" [the Lord's Supper] (I Corinthians 11:33)
  • "the whole church assembles together" (I Corinthians 14:23)
  • "When you assemble" (I Corinthians 14:26)

Where the church meets is not set by the Lord. The authority for a gathering place is found in the command to assemble (Hebrews 10:25). The examples of assemblies in the Bible shows us a variety of places being used, such as the Temple, homes, and schools. Thus where a church meets is not specified and it is left up to the individual congregations to decide where to meet that is most expedient for that particular group. See "What is an expedient?" for further examples.

Even though some gathered in homes, the command that there is a distinction between the church and the home remains:

  • "What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you" (I Corinthians 11:22).
  • "If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come" (I Corinthians 11:34).

The fact that a Christian owns a kitchen, or has a basketball court, does not mean the church has those things. The church and the individual Christian are distinct. This can be seen in the rules for the care of widows: "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows" (I Timothy 5:16). If a church happens to meet in someone's home, it does not mean the church owns that home.

Most of your imagined complaints could have been answered if you simply looked through the web site. You would have found several discussions on eating in the building where some of your points are made, but with actual Scriptural references cited (I Peter 4:11). Yet, unlike your own statements, I don't teach that anyone can do as they please with funds given to the Lord. That was the hard lesson Ananias and Sapphira learned. "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God"" (Acts 5:1-4). Peter man a distinction between a individual's money in his own possession and money that was given to God. Peter is clear that what an individual can decide to do with his money is different than what is done with God's money.

I hope you will consider these things. For more information, see: "You shouldn't write against having kitchens and fellowship halls since these aren't important to salvation"