Minimum biblical requirements to be a church?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by David Mark, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. David Mark

    David Mark
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    This is something I’ve been meditating on. I would like to get your ideas and meditate on your thoughts.

    What would be the minimum biblical requirements required for a (pious) group to be considered (by God himself) a local assembly of believers?

    For the sake of discussion, let’s say this is initially only a group of three (pious) believers who desire to meet.

    What would be the absolute minimum requirements for this meeting to be considered a church by God?

    Dave. [​IMG]
     
  2. Refreshed

    Refreshed
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    1. You must have a business meeting every fourth Wednesday (only applicable to Baptist Churches).
    2. One of the three must be chosen to be the "head" deacon, who controls the church behind the scenes.
    3. One must play the role of the "whipped" pastor.
    4. The third member must be the disgruntled church member.
    5. There must be a board of trustees to oversee the maintenance of the building where you are meeting and make sure the insurance is paid on time.
    6. You must quickly join a denomination so that you can borrow multiple thousands of dollars to build a state-of-the-art building to fill with the masses on "faith."

    Just kidding. The Bible says:

    Matt 18:20 - For where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them.

    The Greek word for "church" in the Bible is ekklesia which means "called out assembly."

    Also note that there were churches in homes in the Bible, such as are mentioned in:

    Romans 16
    1st Corinthians 16
    Colossians 4
    Philemon 1

    I believe that a Christian also has the duty to search out existing churches for one they can join in good conscience before starting a new one, however.

    Jason :D
     
  3. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    Here is Dr. Richard Weeks' definition:
    Dr. Weeks didn't believe in a Universal Church.
     
  4. KrispyKritter

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    Oh Dave, my dear old friend... you started this thread just to get me involved, didnt you!

    Well, you already know my views on this, and they are very much in line with what Refreshed said. The only thing that I kinda disagree with is when he said "I believe that a Christian also has the duty to search out existing churches for one they can join in good conscience before starting a new one, however." ... I dont think that's always true, and it's certainly not a Biblical precept. [​IMG]
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

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    I would agree with Refreshed, if for no other reason than it would be good ethics. Depending on the community, for me at least it wouldn't take alot of time to make the survey. Just to get a work started, I would hate to be accused of sheep stealing. At least by looking at other churches in the vicinity early on, I would be able to give a "solid" reason for the new work. It could be something as simple and undoctrinal as "nobody is reaching this part of the _______ (city, town, or county)".
     
  6. Johnv

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    Since the question is the minimum biblicalrequirement, I'd cite the aforementioned "two or three gathered" verse.

    Now, there are also practical requirements for a church, which vary depending on one's location, customs, and denominational affiliation (Richard Weeks' definition fits into that category). But these aren't pertinent to the discussion, so aside from recognizing that they exist, there's no need to discuss them here.
     
  7. David Mark

    David Mark
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    Yes sir, Mr. Kritter I had hoped this thread would be inviting to you and I hope you will return with your special insight.

    The thread emanates from my own personal meditation and the audience was carefully considered before posting.

    Dave
     
  8. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Squire,. I liked your first definition the best; “two or three gathered” would qualify most households as a church.

    Now some may call the church their family but few call their family a church. Then again, if I remember my history, there were times in early American history where outpost families would build a church for their own use.

    Rob
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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    "Where two or three are gathered" is a good place to begin, however to me and others, the word ecclesia had a history of common usage long before its use in the New Testament. For one sense, I would refer you to the riotous and disorderly Ephesian "town meeting" or "assembly" recorded in Acts.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Concur with the good squire. There are a lot of Scriptures that describe the organization and function of the local church.

    Organized not just some mystical bunch floating around
    Autonomous not under any hierarchy
    Immersed
    Believers
    Officers - elder and deacon
    Ordinances - baptism, communion not sacramental
    Obedient to carrying out the Great Commission
     
  11. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    All things considered, I'd hazard that 10 households excluding the Pastor's (this caveat is again a judgement call YMMV) are the bear minimum for a church. I believe, Dr. Bob, 10 men are required for a minyin.
     

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