Let's examine each of the bible verses that people use to proclaim that having a church building or ministry building is wrong and therefore why we must meet only in "house churches", "home churches", "living room assemblies" and "outdoor gatherings". Let's see if these claims are true and accurate or if they are taken out of context. What do these verses really teach? Do they teach that we cannot and should not have a specific place set aside for formal worship? As we study each of these verses, let us examine and test with an open mind to allow The Holy Spirit and the scriptures to lead us to all truth, regardless of whether these verses will lead us to accept church buildings as acceptable or forbidden. Either way, let the scriptures and Holy Spirit lead. Not our opinions and own conclusions that we have already reached because of some other website or person who led us in our former conclusion. Let's study, test and examine each bible passage, one at a time.
Whether you agree or disagree, I encourage everyone to always pray before and after reading any teaching on any website.
Acts 7:48, "Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;"
Examination: Let's get a little bit more of the context. I encourage you to read the entire chapter in the pages of your hard copy bible there at home. But for time and sake of the internet, I will post here a few verses. Then Let's discuss these verses.
verse 43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Do you see the context?
The context is Stephen preaching against these Pharisees who have never understood the law and who have persecuted the men of God and his truth. The context is not whether or not we should have buildings to worship in. Will we deny that the context is not whether or not we can have services inside a building set aside for services? He does mention temples. Absolutely. Why did he mention temples? Of course we know and acknowledge that the Pharisees and Sadducees worshipped the temple building. That was clearly wrong. It was idolatry. So we can use this verse to teach that we should not worship church buildings. Have you ever met anyone in your life in modern times that literally worships their church building? Some of you may say "yes". But that is your opinion and judgment, whether correct or incorrect. Personally, in my many years of going to "church" buildings in the pass, I have only known two women who thought that the building was the church. They were dedicated to that building. It was very special to them and it was evident to me that their focus on wrong. But that was a very rare exception which I have never experienced with any other congregation. I am sure that it does happen more in the larger Baptist and Catholic branches churches. But still yet, by far, I do not honestly believe that most "church" goers worship the building. Even if you persist to believe that most people worship the building, let's consider that most people also worship money, cars, jobs, food, animals, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. Does that mean that we should never have any of these because of how other people wrongfully worship these things? Are these things forbidden because of other people's abuse of these? The Pharisees and Sadducees wrongfully worshipped the temple that our Creator had commanded to be built. Our Creator commanded the temple to be built, and commanded people to attend services in that building! As well as the Tabernacle of Congregation before it. Stephen's point was not that having a temple or building is wrong, but rather that these Pharisees and Sadducees were putting the physical things before and ahead of The Father Himself, and that they were rejecting true righteousness. Stephen also pointed out that The Creator was much larger than the Earth itself. The Earth is His footstool. Therefore He is not limited to just one building. He cannot fit inside a building. He is everywhere. These legalistic religious people were treating the temple to be as the center of the universe, as the Muslims treat Mecca today & as the Jews treat the Western Wall. Can you deny that this was Stephen's point? If Stephen really intended this to mean that we should never attend services in a formal building of worship then we must find a scripture to validate and verify that we are understanding this correctly. We should never take only one verse to make a doctrine. We need other verses to make sure that we understand correctly. So let's examine the other related verses.
Acts 17:24, "God...dwelleth not in temples made with hands;"
Examination: Let's examine the context. Verse 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
What is the context? Paul was speaking to the Athenians who worshipped many gods who were represented by statues in many different temples scattered around the region. The people literally worshipped these stone statues and the temples where the stone gods dwelt. Paul was basically saying that The True God was not stones who could not speak or see. He was saying that the true God did not dwell in such temples. The True God made Heaven and Earth. He is much greater than stone, silver and gold. Was it in Paul's mind that he must teach these people to not have a building set aside where they could worship the true God every Sabbath and on The Holy Days? No, of course not. That was not his intent. His intent and the context of this verse was to deliver these people from idols and false gods. The context is not that the true followers of Jesus Christ should not have a building to worship in. Can you deny this?
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
2 Corinthians 6:16-17 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.
Examination: These scriptures very clearly proclaim that The Holy Spirit lives in us. We are the dwelling place of The Holy Spirit. I would like to ask you this question: Is The Holy Spirit confined to our physical flesh and blood bodies? Is your body His cage? Can God exist outside our bodies? Is God everywhere? If there is a gathering of 10 million people all located in one location at one time and every one of them is lost. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in any of these people. These 10 million people must take up a lot of room. Perhaps several miles. Perhaps that in the midst of this huge gathering of lost souls that one person in the middle has a sudden awakening? Perhaps he comes to a conclusion that "Hey! I'm lost, this is ridiculous. I'm out of here! Get me out of here! Jesus deliver me!" Do you think that because The Holy Spirit is not in any of these people covering several miles, that Jesus is unable to deliver this person and make a way of escape for him to get out among this horde of lost souls? My point is: Is Jesus so limited and confined to tiny little 5-6 foot spots of our human bodies? Or is He in all places at all times, and sees and hears all things in all locations, all buildings, all nations, all planets, all galaxies? Are we doing the same thing that the Pharisees and Sadducees did? Are we limiting God and where He can dwell and where He cannot dwell? Are we worshipping our bodies the same way that they worshipped the temple? Are we making our flesh and blood bodies the temple idol of the modern times? I think so! I do not believe that we can honestly use any of these scriptures to limit God to just our fleshly bodies and say that He cannot bless, ordain, anoint or move inside any building that is used to provide shelter for His followers to assemble to worship Him. Are we making ourselves out to be like Pharaoh or Roman Emperors who thought they were God and they were the habitation of the fullness of the God Head?
Next passage used: Hebrews 8:1 "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Context: Jesus is greater than the physical. Jesus is greater than Moses and Aaron. The Heavenly temple and Heavenly service is the model for the earthly. Jesus is eternal and greater than the former men high priests. The context is not "I hereby teach and decree that you should not be meeting in church buildings". We should not take it out of context and try to teach something that was not meant to be taught from this passage. We can take this passage to teach that we should not worship stones carved out by men or erected by men. Absolutely we should never worship any object than our Creator. But it doesn't teach that it is wrong to build, buy or rent a building for the express purpose of a place of worship assembly.
Edification: The Temple versus the Synagogues:
Notice that all of the above scripture passages refer to the temple, not to the synagogues. None of these verses say "God doesn't dwell in the synagogues. That's very interesting because all of these verses were written during a time when there was one temple of God on Earth and many synagogues. If the scriptures were really declaring as people claim, that we shouldn't have church buildings, wouldn't the scriptures mention that God "doesn't dwell in the synagogues", since there were many more of them than just the one central temple? But the people were not worshipping the many Jewish synagogues. They were only worshipping the main temple, (which it speaks against worshipping) and the Romans and pagans were worshipping the pagan temples (which it speaks against). Scripture speaks out against all pagan and idolatrous worship. Yet it does not mention these many synagogue buildings as evil. Hmm.
"looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10)
Answer: Context: Everything in this life is temporary. Our houses, our "homes", our jobs, our physical bodies, etc etc etc. We are just learning and training in this life for the permanent eternal life and real home in the Paradise of new Heavens and the new Earth. Perhaps we should take this so literal as to burn down our houses! Perhaps it is sinful for any of us to live in physical houses? Hey, if we are going to be so legalistic as to say that we cannot and should not have physical buildings for worship, then let's just finish what we have started and conclude also that it's wrong to live in any type of physical structure. After all, God doesn't dwell in our homes either. He's not in our houses. He's not in our places of habitation. We may as well not anoint our "homes". It's not our home! We should not have homes! It's forbidden! There is no stopping point for legalism and taking verses out of context! Hee haw!
Objection: Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." Therefore we do not need to have a formal location nor do we need lots of people.
Answer: First of all, I fully agree that in many cases, we do not need a formal building of worship known as a "church" building. It is wonderful that many people are meeting in "home churches"/"house churches". I have held house church in my own house as well as other people's houses and also outside in the public parks, etc. I know all about it. I've been there and done that. But let's acknowledge that we can also have just 2-3 people in a "church building" as well. Is that not true? In fact, in modern times in America, in many of the places of worship, formal church buildings, where people in Babylon are gathering, especially where the doctrines are more in line with the scripture, many congregations are down to just a handful of people. We definitely are not required to have more than 3 people and we are not required to have a church building. We can absolutely meet in barns, basements, living rooms, kitchens, car garages or outdoors. But how does this verse forbid a larger gathering? How does this verse forbid a formal place of worship? Is not a house a building? Is not a kitchen a building? If God doesn't dwell in a "church" building, then He also does not dwell in your kitchen either and therefore we must not meet in your kitchen, going by the same theology that you are using to forbid a different type of building. Let's invite our brothers and sisters to meet in my kidney since I am the temple!
Does this verse forbid us from going out to all nations and to all living souls to evangelize and witness to them the Gospel? No. This verse should never be used to limit our evangelism. We must also read and apply all the verses that teach us to evangelize the Gospel. I do not believe for one minute that house churches are the best way of reaching more people, since very few true followers of Jesus know your personal address. Nor do I believe that we must limit/hinder our witness/evangelism to only the people that we personally know and meet. Having a formal place of worship, a ministry building or "church" building as we know it as today in modern English, is much more promotive to reaching more people, than hiding in your personal "homes". Remember, I have led many services over the years in house churches, in my house and in two other peoples' houses, as well as many services outdoors. I have personally seen and experienced all of this. And I can testify that all of this has been very barren. It is difficult for others to find your sacred house churches. There are tons of house churches all across the world, nation and in our local area, yet we don't even know where each other are! We can't even find each other! Much less, a person who is seeking the truth! It is extremely difficult for a person who is seeking to find a "house" church, even though there are many of them! House churches hinder the evangelism of the Gospel. Period. It is not the church buildings that are hindering the Gospel. It is not the buildings that are teaching lies and Babylonian doctrines. It is not the buildings that are the fault for apostasy & false teachings. It is the people such as the false pastors. It is the blind leading the blind. The same is true in many of the "house churches". It really is no different. Most house churches are led by women who don't understand the scriptures. Women who lead their husbands. Women and men who are just as deceived as the traditional churches, just on different issues. Playing "house church" doesn't solve the problem of deception.
Objection: A lot of people will not step foot into a church building. Therefore by having house churches, we can reach people that traditional churches cannot reach.
Answer: It is true that there are many people who will not step foot into a traditional church. But why? Is it because these people hate buildings? Do they detest wood and brick? Or is it that they detest judgment? Many of them also detest righteousness, repentance and correction. It is my experience that these same people also will not step foot into a house church. To them, it is the same thing, a group of self-righteous, all-knowing saints/hypocrites who will judge me! House churches do not solve this problem. The answer is having the right approach/spirit and the right doctrines. Not tearing down the building.
Objection: The early church met in their homes, therefore we should too.
Answer: Why did the early church meet in their homes? Was it because they thought that temples, synagogues and "church" buildings were forbidden? No. The only reason they were meeting in their homes was because they were hiding from the officials who had forbidden the Name of Jesus and true worship. That's fact and we cannot deny it. There is nothing in history or in scripture to indicate that they thought that synagogue buildings were forbidden by Jesus and the apostles. Meeting in houses was only out of avoidance of being arrested and crucified. The time is coming very shortly when even in America, we will have to resort to such practices again and go into hiding again. But we are not required to hide in our houses yet as of the writing of this article on Nov. 8, 2015. And when we do return to hiding, our Sabbath services will be in barns, basements, houses, etc. out of necessity of survival, not out of the law.
Objection: Babylonian leaders spend tons of money on building grand church buildings to fit thousands of people and continue to spend money every year to keep adding onto the building. The money should be used instead for the work of the Gospel and for the poor and needy.
Answer: I fully agree that traditional Babylon is led by greedy men and women who are ignorant of Truth, the blind leading the blind, and in some cases outright demonic people, wolves leading the sheep astray. But just because there are tons of wolves in the world who are filling their pockets full of money, doesn't mean that there aren't a few good men of God out there some where who are truly serving the flock in the center of The Father's Will. We should not hinder/forbid those few good apostles, prophets and pastors from having shelter for their flocks that they are truly leading to Christ Jesus. Shepherds should have enough common sense and liberty to get their flock out of the cold, wind and rain. We also need restrooms. We also need a place large enough to hold all of the people who will be attending. We also need to consider security, concerning whether we want to allow everyone to come to our homes and know where we sleep! There is nothing wrong with providing a safe, secure, dry, warm location for people to assemble to hear The Word of God and grow in the Spirit and in the Truth. There is nothing wrong with providing the needs of the congregation and of the community.
Objection: We are the Church, the People are the Church. not the building.
2 Timothy 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
I think that most people understand that the people are the "Church". All of this striving about words to no profit really is a stumbling block that is based upon legalism of the letter of the Law, rather than on the Spirit of the Law. Many of these same people that want to continue to bring up this issue of what the word "church" means are the same people who wrongly claim that the words "Christ, God, Jesus and Lord" are pagan. Just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, they are full of head knowledge, yet, they do not understand what the scriptures say.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Objection: House churches promote truth and fellowship. There is a lack of true doctrine and true fellowship in the "churches".
Answer: I fully agree that house churches can promote truth and fellowship. However, the same things can be accomplished anywhere that a true assembly of believers meet. Again, the problem does not lie within the brick and mortar. But rather in the people themselves.
Objection: Church buildings cause pride.
Answer: Pride is a matter of the heart and mind. It is Spiritual. It is not brick and mortar. Clothing can cause pride. Cars, jobs, money, friends, many things can cause pride. The answer is correcting the heart/soul. Not prohibiting anyone from having or using these physical things. A church building can cause pride or a person can be delivered from pride while attending in a building.
Psalm 122:1 "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.
This song was written by David. He was not worshipping the Temple nor was he worshipping Jerusalem. But he was happy and excited to go to The House of the LORD and especially at the Festival of Tabernacles. He did have respect for the House of the LORD and for Jerusalem. Respect and worship are two very different things. We should not confuse the two and we should not wrongfully judge someone and accuse them of worshipping a building if they are truly only showing respect toward a place that is ordained for Worship or for The Work of the Kingdom. We know that Jacob also had respect for a specific location that he called "The House of the LORD" in Genesis 28. There is nothing wrong with having honor and respect for a man of God, for a pastor or for the House of the LORD. I acknowledge that Jesus doesn't dwell in temples made with human hands. When I say this, I mean that God is greater and bigger than any building and even bigger and greater than the Earth itself. But I do not mean that He will not bless, ordain and anoint any ministry building or church building! I do not mean, and Paul and Stephen did not mean that He will not be present during any services held inside a church building. To believe that, would be nothing but legalism and taking all these scriptures out of context, as well as to hinder and limit what He will and can do. All of the above verses were written in an attempt to destroy legalism. Instead, modern day Hebrew root cults and their followers have used these verses to promote legalism. That's a major twisting of scripture and counterproductive to the work of the True Gospel. However, because that the Jews do worship an imaginary new temple, we can and should use these verses to teach that a Third Temple will not be built. Click here for more proof of this.
By the following verses, I can very safely conclude that Paul and the Apostles did not consider it wrong to enter the synagogues (buildings of worship) to teach and worship, as long as the teachings and worship were correct. When the teachings were not correct, they entered these buildings to teach the Truth to those who did not yet have the understanding of the truth. Paul didn't tell these people that they must stop attending services inside buildings, but rather, he just simply taught them about Jesus.
Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
Acts 13:14-42 I will let you read this longer passage yourself in your hard copy bible at home.
Acts 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Very clearly Paul was not against holding services in "church" buildings, then known as "synagogues". I don't think that he would want, nor that Jesus wants, us to hide in our house churches until The Abomination of Desolation occurs which ushers in the Great Tribulation.
If you disagree with this article, I ask that you please take this into fasting and prayer.
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