My Thoughts. . .
I was added to the body of Christ on May 9, 1957. After two attempts to be employed, the good folks in Wapanucka, Oklahoma took me in. I was a new convert. I was more ignorant than I claimed. What would the church have done if I had preached that we could meet in our homes rather than at the building? That the Lord’s Supper would be valid if each family partook at home rather than at the church building? What if I claimed each family could stay at home and worship and they would not be guilty of violating Hebrews 10:25? What if we no longer needed to wear our “Sunday-Best” if we worshiped at home rather than at the building? The results? There would have been an uproar followed by my dismissal. When others heard about my foolish notions, I would have remained unemployed. Of course that was in 1957 not in 2020.
2020 introduced us to COVED 19! People stopped going to the building to worship and the doors were locked. COVED 19 sent us in another direction, which we accepted, even though the church of 1957 through 2019 would have been shocked by our compliance and we would have been labeled.
- Some quoted Hebrews 10:25 to prove that the building was where we must be to obey that passage. Some would have informed us that elders nor membership may change our generational practice without losing our soul. Brethren of 1957 to 2019 would have been shocked over the results COVED 19 had led us to practice. Some would have thought that we had gone “worldly” rather than follow Jesus.
Folks from 1957 to 2019 would have loudly disagreed that COVED 19 was directing us back to the Bible. A wake-up call reminded us that quoting Hebrews 10:25 out of context did not make our application true. The ones who were guilty of “forsaking” are found in 6:4-6 and 10:25-29. An example of those who left the assembly but were not guilty of forsaking it is found in Acts 5:1-11. A husband and wife lied about their giving and died “in church.” The burial committee “forsook” the assembly twice, to bury the man first and his wife later. However, their absence did not number them with the ones mentioned in chapters 6 and 10 of Hebrews. Worshiping at home due to COVED 19 may cause us to be absent from the church building, but it has not caused us to be absent from the Lord! Those familiar with first century practices know the early church met from house to house.
- The King James Version, mistranslated 1 Corinthians 11:20. Because of that addition, some have taught that communion is not valid unless everyone is present in one room to partake. Although the Jerusalem assembly met in the Temple courtyard, that ended very rapidly due to persecution. What did not end were the house to house assemblies. COVED 19 put us back in the biblical house to house style of assembling. The church in Jerusalem very rapidly grew to 8,000+ in membership. Multiple meeting places were needed which house to house assemblies filfilled. Acts 12:12 points out one of those house meetings while James and others were meeting elsewhere. COVED 19 gave us an opportunity to practice what the first century church did by putting us back in that kind of an assembly. Locked church building doors do not immerse the church in sin. Today’s church is just meeting somewhere else as first century saints did.
- COVED 19 opened our eyes to things that the 1957 to 2019 church was blind to. Some had the idea that an eldership could not oversee the congregation unless they could eyeball them in the building on Sunday. Since church buildings are a fourth century addition, how did the Jerusalem elders oversee 8,000+ members scattered in multiple house assembles? Does that mean elderships from the first to the fourth century could not oversee the flock because they lacked an auditorium? COVED 19 introduced us to the first century way of church meetings. We learned that elders could oversee without seeing each member. Most of us have not personally seen our elders in the past 6+ weeks but they were still pastoring us. We are thankful to them for their wonderful oversight and prayers during this COVED 19 period!
God can take the bad things that happen in life and use them in a positive way. He used COVED 19 to teach us what the Bible actually says. So, we have been doing things, in the name of Jesus, which first century believers practiced. We will eventually go back to our buildings. Let us not forget what we have learned during this 2020 COVED 19 period.