Friday, September 25, 2009

Assembly (Church"

"Church" as we call it, and not completely inaccurately I would add, has been the focus of so much debate and division over the years. Brethren in Christ have decimated the body via arguments and controversies regarding the structure and practice in assembly. Interestingly there is little in the New Testament which even addresses the issues we have so boldly discussed. 1 Corinthians 11-14 represents nearly the entire biblical presentation regarding what happens in assembly. Some would argue 1 Timothy 2 is about assembly but that is a debateable point. So, 1 Corinthians 11-14; 1 Timothy 2; Acts 2 and little more give us our texts for assembly.

There is no mention of a church "treasury" in the NT. Jesus did not tell us how many cups to use in communion and the arguments made from the statement "do you not have homes to eat and drink in" has been robbed of its context. Ephesians 5:19 does not address public assembly. Hebrews 10:23ff indicates brethren did meet but the admonition there is to use the time to strengthen, edify and encourage, not divide. Praise teams, who serves communion, genre of church music, proper versions, dress, video usage, meditation times, song leaders, solos, choirs, prayer leaders,meeting times (Sunday 10AM, Sunday 6PM and Wednesday are not mandated in the text of scripture) etc...are never mentioned in the Bible.

Take another look at scripture and you will note that the arguments made regarding the foregoing mentioned subjects are simply conclusions people have drawn from their use of the bible. Someone may certainly draw the conclusion that one cup and one cup only should be used in communion but that is as far as it should go. We cannot bind where God has not bound except in the matter of our own faith.

The early Christians met (Acts 2) to take the Supper, have fellowship, learn and share with one another. It was a time of mutual edification (1Cor. 14) where things were done in an "orderly" fashion so that those who were there would worship God and be built up. It is a shame that so much division and hatefulness has been the result of meetings of the church. Maybe if we all would recognize the "greatest command" and focus on its meaning (1 Cor. 13) history would not repeat itself with yet more church divisions.

Recently a church placed a cross (modern symbol of the Christian faith) at the front of its auditorium in order to encourage focus to be on Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins. Sadly, a brother said "I told them when the cross went up I would be gone." Division over a cross. Sad but that is the road many have taken. And it all centers in what people like or don't like, tradition, practice and culture. Somewhere in the mix Jesus and the Gospel are lost. Assembly time should be a time of refreshing that comes from the Lord. Too bad HE is many times overlooked. foree

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