Question:

I have a dilemma. Our elders have recently approved of an "abbreviated service" on Sunday afternoons at the home of one of our members who is home-bound and dying. This includes singing, prayer, and the Lord's Supper. They are encouraging other members to join them for this service. We have other members who are not able to attend for various reasons. Can we hold services for each in their own home?

I cannot see how this is scriptural since we are commanded to partake of the supper together. Is it? My dilemma is whether to say anything to the elders about it or just let them do what they think is best.

Thank you so much for your help.


Answer:

My difficulty is that I have yet to find adequate justification for offering the Lord's Supper multiple times on Sunday (see The Lord's Supper). It appears that some in your congregation are also uncomfortable with at least some aspects of this. They don't think it is right just to bring the Lord's Supper to those who cannot assemble with the saints, so they decided to hold an assembly where the shut-ins are.

Where a church decides to meet is up to the local group. There is nothing wrong with holding a service at a member's home, especially since we find examples of that being done in the New Testament. We have had members dying of cancer and we have gathered periodically during their last days to sing songs and pray with them. I think it is wonderfully thoughtful of brethren to help others focus on the good things in life just before their final journey.

You are correct that this will eventually cause additional problems as other shut-ins are being excluded since everyone cannot get to every place.

Thank you for your help. Sometimes I think I must be wrong because no one else seems to have a problem with what is going on. After all, both elders approve, and a former elder is the one who had the idea for the home service.

In general, what is an individual Christian to do (especially a woman) when she believes the eldership is drifting into error? Apostasy does not come all at once, but gradually, and our elders are introducing things that I do not believe are scriptural. They were perfectly willing to discuss these things with me, but I was not able to convince them and they still believe what they are doing is authorized. I find that I am not able to participate in more and more activities that are being practiced as a congregation. These are voluntary, of course, so I'm excluding myself, but it feels very strange to be a part of the Lord's church and not be able to fully participate. Do you have any advice?

First understand that your salvation isn't dependent on the faithfulness of the congregation. The church at Sardis was way off track, but Jesus said there were a few there who had not soiled their robes. It is harder to remain faithful at an unfaithful congregation, but not impossible.

That said, if there is another congregation in your area that is staying with the word of God, it might be time to consider a move.