A biblical church follows the commands and traditions regarding church that were taught by the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles were taught these things by Jesus himself.

After the apostles had all died, then the church decided to start doing things differently. Men decided to establish their own traditions that were contrary to what the apostles taught. But what the word of God says about church never changed.

A biblical church:

  1. Is one where any man who wants to participate and say something to the rest of the group can do so. (1 Cor. 14:26, 29, 31) (More)

  2. Has leadership consisting of proven, stable men from within the church, who function as servants instead of rulers, and with no one man being the main guy. (Acts 14:23, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 3 John 9) (More)

  3. Meets in homes. (Acts 2:46, Rom. 16:5, Col. 4:15, Philemon 1:2) (More)

  4. Eats the Lord's supper together as a full meal. (Matthew 26:26, Acts 2:46, 20:7, 1 Cor. 11:33) (More)

Read your own Bible. Do your own research. Ask God for wisdom. Think for yourself. Be willing to accept the truth, regardless of the consequences.

See also: Fun Facts

A few reasons for the above four characteristics:

1. If a man is allowed his turn to speak he has the potential to be helpful to the other believers, as opposed to being no more than just another audience member. So God designed the church meeting where two or three men are supposed to speak in each meeting, and every man eventually gets a turn to speak in a meeting if he wants to, in order that the various members of the body of Christ may get a chance to help the other members. Also, God included a provision that if anything is revealed to someone else who is listening the first man must stop speaking and let the other man say what the Holy Spirit has brought to his mind (1 Cor. 14:30). So the man speaking knows that at any time he may be interrupted. One benefit of this arrangement is that if the speaker says something incorrect, or something out of balance, another believer may provide a correct or more balanced perspective. So with multiple speakers and a provision for interruption, each speaker will be more inclined to be sure that what he says is indeed true and in line with what the Bible says, as opposed to a situation where the man in charge speaks without anyone else daring to stop him, or having the opportunity to speak after him. (Back to Top)

2. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and he is present wherever two or three are gathered together in his name. So God designed the church meeting so that there is never one man other than Jesus in charge. So the Bible never refers to "the pastor" of a church (elders or pastors always being referred to in the plural), nor is there ever any indication that one of the elders should be elevated above the others, or should be the only person who speaks in the meeting. The Bible speaks negatively about a man named Diotrephes who loved to have "preeminence" over others in the meeting (3 John 9-10). There is supposed to be one man in charge of the church meeting, and that man is Jesus Christ. Church elders, also known as pastors, are supposed to behave as if they believe that, and one function of their leadership should be to help ensure that everyone is aware that it is in fact Jesus Christ who is in charge in the meeting, not themselves. And elders are supposed to be raised up from among the group (as opposed to outside talent being brought in) as being men who are well known by everyone in the group as being solid Christians with records of good behavior over a long period of time. (Back to Top)

3. Meeting in homes limits the size of the group to be small enough so that everyone gets to know each other. It also eliminates the need for paying for a separate building and land, and the need to pay someone to be the full time designated speaker. It makes it easier for the group to support missionaries and other full time Christian workers, or help one of their own group who happens to need it, or help others who are not in the group. We are specifically told three times in the New Testament where believers met for church, and each of those times it was in someone's house. In addition, there are at least two other times that the meeting place was implied to be in people's houses, and there is no mention of their having met anywhere else for their church meetings. We are never directly commanded to meet in people's homes, but we are commanded to keep the traditions that the apostles taught (2 Thes. 2:15), and meeting in people's homes was one of those traditions. (Back to Top)

4. Every time the Lord's supper is referred to it is always part of a full meal that believers share together. Of course it is supposed to be a time of examining oneself. But it is also supposed to be a time of getting to know others in God's family better. Sharing a full meal together and talking with others accomplishes that, while sitting in a pew eating one small bite and taking one small sip, speaking to no one, does not. (Back to Top)

Fun Facts:

  • Jesus strongly rebuked those who followed "the tradition of the elders" instead of the word of God (Matt. 15:2, 3, 6; Mark 7:8, 9, 13). The modern church values tradition over the Bible when we conduct our church meetings in violation of the commandments we were given.

  • The format given in 1 Corinthians 14 is the only one for church meetings given in the New Testament. No replacement format is ever given, and it never says there would be another way to do church meetings coming later.

  • Although the New Testament was completed by about 95 A.D., it was not fully verified, compiled and available as a complete work for several years. The Early Church Fathers (men who first led the church after the apostles had all died) were brave, honorable men of God, but they did not have the benefit of possessing the full New Testament, and they departed from the apostles' teachings in several ways, including conducting church meetings unbiblically, with one man in charge and doing most all of the speaking. Once the New Testament was more readily available believers should have corrected their practices, but they didn't.

  • Arguments in favor of traditional church instead of biblical church typically include made-up assumptions that aren't in the Bible. For example, the Bible never says that the open format church meeting was somehow a temporary measure God used only until the New Testament was completed, and that once that happened only an elder is to speak. That argument was invented out of thin air to try to excuse favoring tradition over scripture. It is not found in the Bible.

  • Prophesying is speaking to men in order to edify, exhort and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). To prophesy in church one must have received the gift of prophesy (1 Cor. 14:29). Since God greatly desires that all men in the church have their turn to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1, 5, 31, 39), we know that God will give this gift to those who ask for it and seek it (Matt. 7:7-11).

  • There is no reason given in the Bible why the believers in the apostles' time met in each other's houses. Those who favor traditional, institutional church instead of biblical church say they met in homes only because of persecution, but the Bible doesn't say why. We think there are other reasons.

  • The Bible explicitly forbids women from speaking in church (1 Cor. 14:34, 1 Tim. 2:11-12). In 1 Cor. 11:5 it does refer to women praying or prophesying, which seems to imply a public setting, but it does not say that they can do so in church.

  • In the modern church it seems people will do all kinds of things (skits, movies & slides, musical shows, dance routines, etc.) except conduct church meetings the way God commanded.

  • Even the apostles did not make church decisions unilaterally, nor should church leaders. They made decisions that affected the church with the full consensus of everyone in the church. "Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:" - Acts 15:22 Also see Acts 1:15-26 for another example of making a decision by having a consensus of the whole group.

  • Meeting in people's houses helps believers develop hospitality, a trait sadly lacking in today's church. Some people attending have no family or friends other than at church, and yet never see the inside of another member's home.

  • Institutional church generally consists of folks who shake hands and greet each other, but they know very little about each other, and as a result care relatively little about each other. We are supposed to be a family.

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