Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 24, 1964

The Lord's House

Lowell Blasingame

The Hebrew writer affirms that Christ serves "... as son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Heb. 3:6). Paul states that one reason for writing Timothy is that he might "... know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15).

In each passage we have the idea of the church as a house and of its divine ownership. When the church is spoken of as a house, the reference is not to the material building, but the thought is family relationship. Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house. (Heb. 11:7). The house that he saved were the eight souls that went into the ark. (I Pet. 3:20). The Lord's house is composed of those who are "holy brethren" and "partakers of the heavenly calling." (Heb. 3:1).

Christ is said to be "son over his own house." (Heb. 3:6). The thought of ownership is also expressed by the Lord in saying, "...I will build my church; ...." (Mt. 16:18). Ownership gives one the right to build or arrange a house as it pleases him. I may not like the arrangement but if the house is not mine I have no right to alter it. Since the church is the Lord's house, He had the right to arrange it as it pleased him and no man has the right to assume the role of an interior decorator and alter the Lord's church to suit himself.

When the Lord built the church He gave it the name that He wanted it to have. At Corinth it was called the church of God, (I Cor. 1:2), at Ephesus the church of the Lord, (Acts 20:28 RV) and a plurality of them sending greetings to the Romans were called churches of Christ. (Rom. 16:16). The individual members were simply called Christians. (Acts 11:26). Man has no right to add denominational names to either the church or the members. The church is the Lord's house and He had the right to name it as it pleased Him.

One of the more frequent alterations in the arrangement of the Lord's house is in the items of worship that He gave. For music, the Lord authorized singing. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Those today, who insist that they like instrumental music and can see no harm in its use, need to be reminded that the church is the Lord's house and he could put the kind of music in it that he wanted and no other person has the right to assume the role of interior decorator and change what the Lord has authorized for worship in His house, The Lord gave the doctrine that He wanted taught in His house. The fact that alteration will not be tolerated in this is shown in one's loss of fellowship with God in his going beyond the doctrine of Christ. (2 Jno. 9). Neither additions nor subtractions are permitted. (Rev. 22:18-19). The teaching of Christ thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) therefore no need exists in the Lord's house for human creeds.

As a method of entrance into His house the Lord made obedience to the gospel necessary. Those who do so are saved and added to the church at the same time. (Acts 2:47). A method of entrance that requires a vote of the membership or the relation of an experience of grace is not one that the Lord provided for His house. These may be doors into a house (church) but certainly not the one for entering the Lord's.

The Lord also gave the organization to His house that pleased Him. That organization is known as a local church and is composed of the saints in a locality with their bishops and deacons. (Phil. 1:1). There were to be elders in every church (acts 14:23) and they were to be limited in their work of tending to the flock of God which was among them. (I Pet. 5:2). This is the simple arrangement of organization that the Lord gave to His house. Any organization larger than this is too big, any smaller is too little, and any other than this is the wrong one! Brethren have no scriptural authority for forming benevolent and missionary societies for doing the work of the Lord's church. The Lord's house is sufficient for its work. Neither do brethren have scriptural authority for amalgamating the work of several churches under the oversight of the elders of one church for area-wide or state-wide projects as is being done in the sponsoring church plan for cooperation. If the Lord had wanted any such yoking together of churches, He would have provided an organization big enough for it. If He had wanted churches to work through a super organization like Mississippi Christian Foundation, Inc., the divine blueprint would have made provisions for the organization. Since no organization is revealed but the local church, it must follow that the Lord is pleased with it and wants no other for His house.

Men transgress when they fail to build according to the pattern. (Heb. 8:5). Let us learn to respect the church as the Lord's house and since it is His, His right to give the name, worship, doctrine, method of entrance and organization to it that is good in His sight.

— 163 Dean Drive, Grenada, Miss.