Thursday, November 5, 2009


I’m so thankful for Nora Giese’s recent “Letter to the Editor”. She has broached at least three important topics that may be beneficial for us all to consider. I know I don’t to have all the answers and regularly pray for a teachable spirit. Therefore, please do not receive my response to be either argumentative or condescending. I’m very willing to consider other’s opinions as we address these issues:

• Is worship the reason we often find
Jesus and His apostles in synagogues?
• Was persecution the reason why
early Christians met in homes?
• Were there occasions when
members of one church community offered
guidance to those of another?

1) Most of us, including myself, have been taught that Jesus and His apostles went to synagogues to worship. However, Scripture seems to indicate [Acts 14:1; 17:1-33; 18:4 and 19], that instead of worship, they crossed the threshold of synagogues filled with non-believing Jews in order to evangelize!

Faith in the Messiah of Nazareth was not the focus of worship in the Jewish synagogue. Consequently, we don’t find Jesus or His disciples “worshiping” with non-believing Jews nor encouraging new converts to do so. Rather than holding to human traditions of worshiping at a sacred place on a sacred day with the Jews, Jesus and His apostles took advantage of the custom of inviting visiting Rabbis to teach [Acts 13:14] and spoke against such human traditions [Colossians 2:8]. Consequently, they were expelled from the synagogue!

2) I was also taught that early Christians began to meet in one another’s homes because of persecution. However, didn’t Jesus establish His church in the open air and in homes before persecution ever began? In the three years Jesus trained His apostles, they learned to carry on the work that He began [Acts 20:20] which was not worshiping in synagogues nor choosing gathering locations out of fear.

Following Jesus’ and the apostles’ teaching, early Christians continued to meet in one another’s homes even during times of peace [Acts 2:42-47 and 9:31]. When persecution did break-out, it doesn’t seem that Christians went to great pains to “hide-out.” Instead, unbelievers knew exactly where to find them [Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians. 14:23] … in their homes.

All local Christians also gathered daily at the accommodating temple courts [Acts 2:44-46] where the non-believing Sadducees were responsible for controlling temple activity. Such public places wouldn’t be very effective hiding for those desiring to go unnoticed!

3) Although there is Scriptural evidence that Christians from one community did offer advice to those in other communities, this isn’t the subject at hand. Instead, the issue is …

The early Church
had only one local body of believers in each community
who functioned as one family.

We learn from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians for example that, while there were at least five different “house churches” in Corinth, [1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 16:19], Paul doesn’t write to the individual groups. Instead, he wrote to all believers in Corinth [1 Corinthians 1:2] because the issues affected the entire local family!

Jesus never desired that His brothers and sisters meeting in one house would have no regard for the matters of those who met in another. In fact, Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers for thinking and functioning so independently!

While I desire to honor God’s Word and not quarrel over disputable matters; He does encourage us to lovingly challenge one another to develop a clear understanding of and devotion to what Jesus and the apostles taught [Colossians 3:16].


P.S. For those who may not have had a chance to read Nora’s letter, you may read it at under “NORA’S LETTER … ”.

No comments:

Post a Comment