Faithful Christians Meeting in Their Homes

Charles Pogue

For more than fifty years, liberalism has spread through the Lord’s church as rampantly as a California wildfire. In 1966 brother Ira Y. Rice Jr. put out his first edition of Axe on the Root, which warned brethren of the spread of false teaching. Today, error in doctrine, practice, and fellowship have taken over many congregations, including small ones. In the congregation in the small Texas town where I was raised, a sermon advocating a direct operation of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians is recorded on their website. It matters not the size of the congregation, error is taking a firm grasp in not just many churches, but the majority of them.

What an advantage it is for those who live in a city or town in which there is a faithful congregation of the Lord’s people. Others are not so fortunate. If they attend the unfaithful congregation in their locality, they know this would be unscriptural. So, they have only two scriptural options: they can drive a distance to another town (if distance, finances and/or health allow such) where there is a faithful congregation, or they can worship at home. For many, the second option is the only possibility. We are instructed to withdraw ourselves from every brother walking disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6). The apostle John by the Spirit’s instructions, commands us to have no fellowship with those who bring something other than the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). The charge obviously applies to cases where the congregation stands for error in teaching or practice.

The familiar words of Ephesians 5:11 state, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” If a congregation departs in teaching, practice, and/or fellowship from New Testament teaching, one is to make an effort to return it to the old paths. If it will not accept the given reproofs, rebukes, and exhortations, one must withdraw himself from that congregation. If not, why not?

When is that point reached? Because every situation is different, that decision can only be left up to the faithful party involved. When the decision is made, yet there is no other congregation within driving distance (and driving distance may become a judgment matter, depending on personal finances and/or health issues), the only option for many is to worship at home. The sad reality is in too many of these types of situations there is only one family who seeks to remain faithful to the ways of the Lord, thus they find themselves worshiping alone while seeking to find lost to teach.

There are those who assert to continue with an unsound congregation is the right thing to do rather than worshiping in one’s home. Perhaps they are equating the practice with the unscriptural practices advocated years ago by The Boston Movement, if so, that is not an accurate assessment. Perhaps, they are concerned with those worshiping in their homes isolating themselves. That would be a legitimate concern, but regarding the people this author knows who are forced to separate themselves from the local congregation, that is not the case.

Some may unscripturally insist those worshiping at home (under the exception stated above) are in violation of Hebrews 10:25, to not forsake the assembly. However, prior to making the scriptural decision to worship at home (again, under the circumstance of refusing to worship with an apostate church), when those now forced to worship in their homes recall hearing sermons regarding forsaking the assembly, they had listened closely hoping the preacher would clarify the exception about those who are forced to worship at home, because the congregation in their vicinity is liberal or anti, and would not be guilty of that act. Usually, such a statement is not forthcoming, thus the home worshiper finds himself in a position of having to remind himself he has no cause for a guilty conscience. He will find it necessary to mentally proceed to go down the list of the errors in the congregation he withdrew from, and how they refused his admonition. He will come to reinforce his conclusion that it was right to withdraw from those walking disorderly.

We do not know how many members were involved, but we do know there are two occasions on which Paul saluted or greeted Priscilla and Aquila and “the church that is in their house” (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19). Those who are not familiar with a situation of a family forced to worship at home need to know that at least some of those forced to do so, would relocate were it in their ability to do so. Some are not in good enough physical health to move, others, although they desire to move to a different location, cannot afford to. Be assured of one thing, though, those forced to worship at home who are faithful and who love the church of our Lord do not want to be in the situation they are in. They miss the fellowship of faithful brethren and would change their residence if it were in their ability to do so. Please pray for faithful Christians meeting in their homes.

* Edited by Gary L. Grizzell with permission and final approval given by the author.
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