If so, How and Why?
The 2×2 Fellowship is considered by some to be “The Closest Way” on Earth today to the New Testament Church and Ministry…
1. Because its ministers go out preaching on faith, “leaving all,” behind with no salary.
2. Because its Ministers preach “two and two” (in same-sex pairs).
3. Because its ministers preach the same message as Jesus.
4. Because they meet in homes as did the New Testament church.
1. The 2×2 Fellowship is considered to be “The Closest Way” because its ministers go out preaching on faith, “leaving all” in the manner Jesus sent the first disciples. In other words, by giving away all their possessions; e.g. their money, selling or leaving their homes, disposing of their possessions (including automobiles); sacrificing the possibility of careers, marriage and children; without salary, financial backing and never making appeals for financial assistance, putting implicit trust in God and His promise: “seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (food, clothing, shelter and other necessities). (Luke 12: 29; Matthew 6:31-32) Their preachers own what will fit in their modest size suitcases, and in the past, they claimed they were penniless and poor–in the 21st century, this is no longer true.
NOTE: Their entire Two by Two belief system was founded on this Faith Line principle.
A. Where does Jesus instruct the disciples to give up all their possessions?
Luke 12:33 says: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Jesus was speaking to the “little flock” (vs. 32), which consisted of a multitude (vs. 1), and not just to the disciples. That there were others present can also be seen by Peter’s question in vs. 41, “Lord speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?”
Obviously, the phrase “sell…and give alms” is not meant to be taken literally, since it is not possible to take the rest of the sentence literally; i.e. provide bags that would be incorruptible and never age. That this is the correct interpretation is confirmed by Matt. 6:20, where this same account is stated more clearly. Matthew starts with “LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt. BUT lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven….” In other words, exchange your possessions for things of lasting value. The negative clause “Lay not up” was NOT meant to FORBID, but was used to put the emphasis on the second clause, “but lay up…” making it evident this was preferable.
To use this text to insist that ministers today must sell all their possessions and give alms is to abuse it, take it out of context, and to refuse to acknowledge Scriptures that confirm otherwise. Selling possessions and giving them to the poor is a “work”, and works don’t save. Eph. 2:9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Moreover, the workers possess and carry around much more than these people ever had. . .
B. What does the Bible say concerning ministers, marriage and celibacy?
“Marriage is honorable in ALL,” according to Heb 13:4. “ALL” includes both saints and servants, men and women. Paul claimed in 1 Cor. 9:5 that he and Barnabas had the right, as well as the other apostles, Jesus’ brothers and Peter, to take a sister or a wife on their journeys, regardless of whether or not they chose not to use this right — it was still their right. Seems Peter exercised his right to take his wife along with him ,and Jesus’ two brothers, authors of the books of the Bible James and Jude apparently had wives who went on missionary journeys with them. 1 Cor. 9:5 “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas (Peter)?” Judas Iscariot was married with children (Psalms 109:8-13). Peter was married (Mark 1:30, Matt. 8:14)
God intended marriage to be an option for ALL, regardless of their circumstances, or calling in life. Marriage was an individual matter. The Bible’s stamp of approval is NOT upon those who forbid marriage, but rather labels this practice as a doctrine of devils, 1 Tim 4:1-3! REQUIRING others to remain unmarried for life is to enforce a doctrine of devils. The workers claim they make a “free choice” not to marry–but this is not so. It is a mandatory REQUIREMENT if they want to be a worker. If it wasn’t, many workers would be married to each other, and many have asked to do so, and have been refused. Since God does not forbid marriage to anyone, why is this doctrine of devils enforced? 1 Tim 4:1-3.
2. The 2×2 fellowship is considered to be “The Closest Way” because its Ministers preach “two and two” (in pairs).
Often, it is claimed that this fellowship is “the closest way” to Jesus’ teachings. The chief reasons given are the METHOD by which the Ministers go and preach and the LOCATION of the meetings (in homes). The following statements were made by workers:
William Petersen: “The church in the home is a part of Jesus, just as the ministry is a part of Jesus, and you cannot have the blood of Jesus without accepting all of Jesus…The truth is the two-and-two ministry and the church meeting in the home.”
Leo Stancliff: “There are two things upon which the Truth of God rests: Jesus gave us the ministry and a way of fellowship. Now the ministry is the foundation of Christianity.”
Eddie J. Carnock: “Consider these simple things which God has planned…the church in the home, the preachers without a home…these are the bulwarks of God’s Work in the world today.”
Jack Carroll: “There are two fundamentals of the faith of Jesus that are vital to a true understanding and interpretation as recorded in the New Testament. First, the church in the home, and the home only; secondly, the preacher without a home. These two are foundational.”
Sproulie Denio: “As we have often heard there are two basic truths in the New Testament. One is a preacher without a home, and the other is a church in the home.”
Gordon Winkler: “Peter and John, when they were telling the gospel story, they were living the gospel. They were men who like Jesus had given up everything that they had; given it to the poor, homeless, stranger preachers for the gospel’s sake …these basic truths that are so vital in our salvation, and have stayed the same from the beginning of time.” (Glen Valley B.C. Canada Conv. August 12, 1990) (Did John, Peter and the disciples give up their homes? Did they give their money to Jesus? Matt. 8:14, Luke 4:38, Mark 1:29, John 19:27, 20:10, Acts 28:30, 21:8)
Willie Jamieson: “The ministry has been the most important part of God’s plan in every age.” Walla Walla, WA convention, 1960
These and other similar statements which are not Biblically unsupported leave many people with more questions than they answer. Is Jesus’ Way merely a Method? Did Jesus intend for all men to follow “the closest way” to the METHOD the disciples used to announce the message that Christ had arrived on earth? “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18. Is the method of ministry and location of meetings the gate through which one must pass in order to obtain salvation?
A. How many times is going to preach “two and two” mentioned in the Bible?
Jesus only instructed the disciples to go out and preach “two and two” TWICE: Mark 6:7, and Luke 10:1. The workers mostly travel and preach in pairs, but not always. There are often three, four, and sometimes only one. If it were so important, you’d think there would be no exceptions.
Some believe Acts supports the necessity of ministers going “two and two.” Let’s examine the scripture. In Acts, one person went alone on an evangelistic journey (10) times, often Paul; pairs going “two and two” are mentioned (8) times; three persons went (7) times; four persons went (1) time; seven persons (1) time; eight persons (1) time; ten persons (1) time; two persons plus an unspecified number (1) time; three persons plus an unspecified number (1) times. The disciples went “two and two” only eight times out of 29 in Acts (28% of the time).
Jesus’ commission in Matt. 28:18-20, gives NO guidelines as to the number who should travel together while preaching the Gospel. If He didn’t command them to go “two and two” in his last commission to them, how could it be essential today for ministers to go “two and two?”
What does Jesus consider MOST IMPORTANT?
A right METHOD; or a particular Style of Worship?
The right MESSAGE and BELIEFS, evidenced by true and living FRUIT?
B. To whom was Jesus’ instructions directed in Matthew 10:5-14, Mark 6:7-11, Luke 9:1-5, and Luke 10?
To THE twelve and to THE seventy DISCIPLES as shown by the following capitalized words.
In Matt. 10:5-12: “THESE TWELVE Jesus sent forth and commanded THEM, saying: Go not into the way of the Gentiles and into any city of the Samaritans enter YE not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as YE go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely YE have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in YOUR purses, Nor scrip for YOUR journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves…and when YE come into a house, salute it.”
In Mark 6:7-10, Jesus says, “and He called unto Him THE TWELVE and began to send THEM forth two and two; and gave THEM power… and commanded THEM…that THEY should…and he said unto THEM”
In Luke 9:1-3, Jesus called the “TWELVE DISCIPLES” and gave “THEM” power and sent “THEM” to preach, and said unto “THEM.”
Can there be any doubt WHO Jesus was specifically instructing? In the same chapter these specific commands to the disciples are found, Jesus also gives some messages for ALL believers. In Matt. 10, He addresses “whosoever” four times, and “he that” nine times. Examples: (1) “For WHOSOEVER would save his life will lose it.” (2) “HE THAT loveth father or mother more than me…” (3) “If ANY MAN would come after me…” Who was He referring to, if it isn’t to ALL believers for ALL times? Why didn’t Jesus use universal wording when He instructed the twelve disciples for their missionary journey? Because He didn’t mean for these instructions to be universally applicable to all preachers.
C. To whom did Jesus send them “two and two”?
He sent them to the Jews only: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL” (Matt. 10:6-7).
D. Where did Jesus send the disciples “two and two”?
He told the twelve to go to the house of Israel, and specifically stated they should NOT go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans, Matt. 10:6-7. He sent the 70 before him “…into every city and place whither he himself would come” Luke 10:1.
E. Did those who preached in Acts 8:4 go out “two and two”?
“Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word.” The Jews from Jerusalem who had scattered because of persecution were doing the preaching. No mention is made of going “two and two.” It’s clear that either they did not go in pairs or it was not important that they did so.
3. The 2×2 Fellowship is considered to be “The Closest Way” because its ministers preach the same message as Jesus.
A. What was meant by the “gospel?”
It is incorrect to say that the Scripture presents only ONE gospel. The word “gospel” means “good news.” The term “good news” in no way indicates what the good news might be. If someone asked you, “Did you hear the good news?”, before you could answer correctly, you would need to ask, “Which good news?” Exactly which “good news” is under discussion must be clarified. God used distinctive terms to identify various items of good news i.e. “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt 9:35) “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) “the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:17), “the gospel of God” (Romans 15:16), “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15), “the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13). Luke 9:6 says that the apostles “departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel.” It has frequently been assumed from this verse that they went forth preaching salvation through faith in Jesus and his death on the cross, yet it is clear from Luke 18:31-34 that they had no idea Christ must die.
B. What were the disciples to preach?
Their message was very specific. Jesus instructed them to preach: Matt 10:7, “And as ye go, preach, saying “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mark 6:12 “And they went out and preached that men should repent.” Luke 9:2 “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God.” Luke 10:9 “…and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
C. What did John the Baptist preach?
The theme of John the Baptist’s gospel, of whom Isaiah prophesied in Is. 40:3-9 was the same as the message of the twelve and seventy disciples: “Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matt. 3:1-2; 4:17-23.
D. What did JESUS preach?
Matt. 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 4:23, 9:35, Mark 1:14 “Now…Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Luke 4:43: “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.” Luke 8:1: “And…he (Jesus) went throughout every city and village preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God…”
Jesus and the disciples preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, Matt. 21:43; Were they to preach nothing else? The main theme of their message is all that is given. The gospel of the twelve is specifically and repeatedly called “the gospel of the kingdom.”
E. What was meant by “the kingdom was at hand”?
Clearly, the Jews of that day looked for the Messiah to be a human king ruling a visible earthly kingdom from their question in Acts 1:6: “Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel”? And so did the Pharisees who asked in Luke 17:20: “when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say Lo here! or, lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you (in the midst of you)”
Many recognized Jesus as the prophesied King and would have made Him King by force if Jesus had not hidden, John 6:15. The people attending the feast took branches of palm trees and met him crying, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon, as it is written, Fear not, Daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt” (quotation from Zech 9:9) Matt. 21:5, John 12:13-14. In Daniel 7:13-14, the Messiah is given an everlasting Kingdom, “that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him.”
According to Scriptural prophecy, a literal Kingdom would be established, over which the Son of David (another title for Messiah) would reign, Luke 1:32-33, Is. 24:23, 32:1, 35:4 40:9-10; Is. 52:7; Daniel 2:44; Gen. 49:1; Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30; Is. 2:2; Dan. 2:28, 10:14, 2:34-35, 44-45; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 14:9.
F. To whom were the 12 and 70 to preach?
Since Matthew 10:5 restricts the twelve to preaching ONLY to the JEWS, and forbids them to go to the Gentiles, the preaching mission on which the disciples were sent was definitely LIMITED in scope. This was also the case for the seventy: “After these things, the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent THEM two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come,” Luke 10:1. Since the workers usually preach to Gentiles, can you truthfully say these instructions are being followed?
G. Were the disciples to preach in a certain area?
The seventy were only to preach to those who lived in the IMMEDIATE VICINITY where Jesus himself intended to visit in the near future (Luke 10:1). Clearly, their mission was to a most specific geographical area and to one particular nation. He told the twelve “ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come” Matt 10:23. Perhaps Jesus meant that even though they hurried, the disciples would not even get through all the cities of Israel before He began traveling their same route. Since the workers preach in countries Jesus never set foot in, are Jesus’ instructions being closely followed? These specific instructions to the disciples were for a specific purpose: to prepare the people for Jesus, who would soon be arriving.
H. After the 12 and 70 fulfilled their preaching mission, what did they do?
The 70 returned joyfully in Luke 10:17 to report to Jesus. The 12 returned to Jesus a short time later, according to Luke 9:10-12, Matt. 14:15, and Mark 6:35. Not a great deal of time elapsed between their going out, and their return to Him after John the Baptist was beheaded in Luke 9:10.
It was important for the Jews to be prepared for Jesus’ coming. Since the disciples would not be gone for very long, they were told not to make preparations that would be required for an extended trip. Because of the generous tradition of Jewish hospitality toward strangers, they would be well provided for. When people were not receptive, they were to move on at once. When persecuted, they were to flee to the next city. Being in such a hurry, Jesus told them not to salute any man on the way (Luke 10:4) as salutations in those days were lengthy, and they didn’t have time to waste.
I. What was proof that the disciples’ message was true?
The proof of Jesus’ commission to His disciples/apostles was found in the powers and miracles they exercised, “the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following”, Mark 16:17-20. Even though they are supposedly following Jesus’ instructions to the disciples more closely than any other ministers, the signs and powers are noticeably absent that God gave to confirm the disciples’ message was true. It is impossible for the workers to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, or cast out devils, the most prominent feature of the Matt. 10 commission. Yet, the disciples performed these miracles LITERALLY and PHYSICALLY, and not spiritually. Some claim they do the things in Matt 10 “spiritually.” On the other hand, some denominations “spiritualize” the Matt. 10 requirements, and claim that miraculous signs, such as picking up snakes, drinking poison, casting out demons, healing, etc. are to be performed literally in this day and time. Where are the Scriptural guidelines for picking and choosing which of Jesus’ instructions to the twelve ministers are to take literally and which spiritually? Since it is impossible for the workers to duplicate the chief feature of Matt. 10 (healing, raising dead, miracles, etc.), is it true the workers are filling Jesus’ instructions to the disciples??
J. Which of Jesus’ instructions in Matt. 10 does He retract in Luke 22:35?
“And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one…And they said, Lord behold here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” With these words, “when I sent you without purse, script and shoes” Jesus’ refers to his former instructions to the disciples given in Matt. 10:5-14. Jesus gave the disciples these instructions AFTER they returned from those first missions. His instructions ALTERED the method in which they would preach after His crucifixion. Paraphrased, isn’t He saying: “Before I sent you (with THESE certain instructions found in Matt. 10); BUT NOW (in the future) go out (with THESE altered/different instructions). Doesn’t this verse show that Jesus’ commands in Matt 10. that were addressed to the disciples were not intended for all ministers of the future?
K. How can both the Luke 22:35 instructions and the Matt. 10:5-14 instructions be obeyed simultaneously?
Obviously, one of these instructions supersedes the other, and the one last in effect was Luke 22:35. They can’t both be obeyed, because one verse instructs the disciples to do some things that the other verse says they are not to do any longer. We’re not at liberty to evade the difficulty these conflicting scriptures present by refusing to carefully consider the meaning of this Luke passage. How closely do the workers follow Luke 22:35?
L. What was the purpose of Jesus’ instructions to the twelve?
Obviously, the limited mission Jesus sent the disciples on in Matthew 10 was specific in its object, being designed to prepare for the coming of Messiah or Jesus Christ, and to announce the nearness of the Messianic kingdom. It was specific in its sphere, being directed to Jews only and not to the Gentiles. It was also specific in its character, attended by miraculous credentials which verified the disciples as being divinely sent. This mission was fulfilled by those to whom it was given–the disciples. How can it possibly be essential that ministers today use that same method? What is praiseworthy about following SOME of Jesus’ commandments given to particular men for a certain mission completed long ago? Compiled from Matthew 10:5-14; Mark 6:7-11; and Luke 9:1-5 et al, are 22 instructions given by Jesus to the twelve and seventy AT THE TIME he sent them to proclaim “The kingdom is at hand” to the Jews. Out of Jesus’ 22 instructions, there are 11 the workers don’t carry out, 4 the workers can’t carry out, leaving only SEVEN (32%) which they do carry out. Is it true this is the only ministry on earth today fulfilling Jesus’ commandments, when only seven or 32% (not even one-half!) of His instructions are practiced? Where is any command of Jesus for these practices to be continued after that particular mission to the Jews was completed?
Making the traveling arrangements (two and two) and the lifestyle (itinerant, celibate) of the messenger essential to salvation is placing undue emphasis on the messenger, rather than the message. A messenger doesn’t validate his message — the message validates the messenger. Is the all-important issue who and how the good news comes through? Or is it the good news that is important?
Adding ANYTHING to what the Scripture has said, (“Believe and ye shall be saved” Rom. 10:9, Acts 16:31) is a reflection on the finished work of Christ (Acts 5:36, John 4:34, 5:36, 17:4, 19:30, Heb. 12:2), and diminishes the value of His sacrifice. When man’s work or part is overvalued, the result that follows is to undervalue what Christ has done. Adding the requirement of human performance, the two-by-two ministry, and church in the home, to the work Christ “finished” in order to merit or inherit salvation is basing salvation on “works,” not grace. If men can atone for their sin through their own works, why did Jesus need to die? His death would then be unnecessary and pointless.
M. To whom were they instructed to preach in what is known as “The Great Commission” in Mark 16:14-20, John 20:21-22 and Matthew 28:18-20?
“Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them…Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Mark 16:15: “and preach the gospel to every creature.”
N. Which instructions are the same in “The Great Commission” and in Matthew 10?
In both, when executing Jesus’ instructions, their authority and credentials were confirmed and verified by miracles and signs (Mark 16:20). There is no departure in The Great Commission from what Jesus told them to preach in Matt. 10.
O. What instructions are different regarding “the great commission” and in Matthew 10?
Where they were to preach and to whom they were to preach are different. Jesus lifted His former restriction to preach to the Jews only. They were now to go to “among all nations beginning at Jerusalem”, Luke 24:47, and to “go into all the world” Mark 16:17 and “teach all nations” Matt. 28:19. In His final instructions to the eleven disciples, sometimes called “the great commission”, Jesus makes NO mention of:
HOW. . . . they were to preach, (no mention of the necessity of traveling in pairs)
WHAT . . . they were to take/not take with them,
WHERE. . . they were to stay/not stay,
WHAT . . . they were to wear/not wear
Being the last message Jesus gave them before ascending to His Father, is there any doubt that He intended this commission to supersede His previous Matt. 10 instructions to the twelve? Note, that He didn’t mention in His last commission that the disciples should continue to preach “two by two”.
While going in pairs has much to commend it, two references where the twelve and the seventy were specifically sent in this manner (Luke 10:1 and Mark 6:7) on two particular missions to particular locations hardly justifies this to be the ONLY correct method of traveling for ministers today; nor does it indicate all those who do not follow this procedure are “false preachers.” At no time does the New Testament ever make the NUMBER traveling together of ANY great consequence. Jesus never instructed the ministry to travel in pairs, homeless, no possessions and unmarried after His death and ascension. Where does the Scripture indicate this was to be the pattern for the ministry for all ages to come?
P. What was the main purpose of Jesus in coming to this earth?
Does the Scripture indicate Jesus’ purpose was to be the elder brother, the example or pattern preacher, or to establish church meetings in homes? See: Matt. 5:17, 9:13, 10:34-35, 15:24, 18:11, 20:28; Luke 4:43, 9:56; 12:49, 51, 19:10; John 3:17, 4:34, 5:30, 6:38-39, 9:39, 10:10, 12:46-47; Acts 3:26; Rom. 8:3, 14:9; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 John 3:8, 4:9-10, 14.
Looking through the New Testament to find the stated purpose for Christ’s coming, there is not one verse stating that He came primarily to be our example. Two passages do give two specific ways in which Jesus was an example. One regards service to our brethren and the other regards suffering patiently. John 13:15 “For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done unto you.” and 1 Pet. 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for death on Calvary.” The purpose for Jesus coming was not to be an example, but rather to be the Lamb, the offering for our sin, our Saviour and Redeemer. See: Heb. 9:26, Heb. 9:11-12, Heb. 10:7, 10, Heb. 2:9, Gal. 4:4-5, Matt. 20:28, John 1:29.
Q. In The Great Commission, how did Jesus send the disciples?
John 20:21: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” The Father sent Jesus with the spirit — and Jesus sent the disciples into the world with the Spirit also. John 17:17-19 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes, I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” The Father sent Jesus into the world “sanctified” (set apart for a special purpose), and Jesus sent the apostles out into the world also sanctified — using them for His special purpose.
How could Jesus have meant by “as the Father sent me, so send I you” for the ministry to continue to closely follow His instructions to the 12 and 70 related in Matt 10, Luke, etc.? If these verses do not specifically pertain to being directly commissioned, sanctified and having the Holy Ghost, then doesn’t every minister have to do everything exactly like the Father sent Jesus to do; i.e. be born of a virgin, crucified, resurrected, ascended into heaven, etc.?
R. In this fellowship, who is filling the positions of the “pastor and teacher” of Ephesians 4:11?
“And he gave some apostles, and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors, and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ.” There are five ministry positions given: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The day of the apostles and prophets is past. From this context, it is clear that an evangelist is not the same as a pastor or a teacher. The word “pastor” means shepherd. A shepherd stays with his sheep all the time. While other churches have “pastors” who stay with them, the position of teachers and pastors is not filled in this fellowship. Many churches support “evangelists” (often called “missionaries”). There are also other “teachers” from within the congregation. Is a “pastor” “a false prophet” because he stays in one place filling a place the Scripture ordains? Is it following closely with the Scriptures for a fellowship to have only evangelists (workers), and not pastors and teachers?
4. The 2×2 Fellowship is considered to be “The Closest Way” because they meet in homes like the New Testament church.
A. Did they meet ONLY in a home in Acts 2:46?
No — they continued daily to meet together in the temple, and went from house to house breaking bread.
B. Did they meet ONLY in a home in Acts 19:9?
No — they met in the school of Tyrannus for two years.
C. Did Paul look for the Christians to be meeting ONLY in homes in Acts 9:2?
No — he looked for them in the synagogues.
D. Were they meeting ONLY in a home in 1 Cor. 11:17-34?
Paul asked the erring Corinthians, “What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not?”
E. Was meeting in a home emphasized in these verses: Acts 16:13-18, Acts 3:1, Acts 19:9, 1 Cor. 11:17-34 and 1 Cor. 3:9?
No — it was mentioned in a narrative or a greeting. How can the mere reference to a church in a home be interpreted to mean that it is forbidden for church meetings to be held in any other place? Where is any Scriptural confirmation or command that the church meeting in homes was to be the pattern for all believers forever after? Where is any Scriptural commandment forbidding the church from assembling in other places? It’s clear that some might have met in homes, but it’s not clear that this was compulsory.
F. Where did Jesus tell the woman of Samaria (John 4:20) the proper place was to worship?
Jesus didn’t indicate that the only acceptable place for people to assemble was in homes; but rather, He said, “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Jesus made it clear that it’s not here or there that matters — its how and why; that true worship is a personal relationship with the Lord, and where or the place in which it is offered is not of any consequence. Jesus didn’t allude to the necessity of the church being in the home, and the ministers without homes. If these were all-important essential criteria for salvation, Jesus had the perfect opportunity here to say so. Why didn’t he?
It is true there is no Scripture commanding believers to meet in any other place besides homes; but there is also no Scripture giving any particular place where fellowship meetings are to be held–not in homes or in any other locations. Some argue that because you can’t prove “something” is true, that proves it is false, which is faulty reasoning. Using this same logic, the saints should all be selling their possessions and living in a community state as they did in Acts 5:1-10 where Ananias and Saphira died for lying. Does Scripture teach that Scriptural precedence is to be considered an absolute commandment for all believers for all times totally disregarding to whom the Scripture was addressed?
A clear statement in the Word of God is doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16) — not a passing reference in a narrative. To properly interpret and apply God’s Word to US, it is essential that we take into account the context of all passages and to whom they are addressed. How could the church meetings in the home be an absolute requirement for salvation when the Scripture does not command it? How can it be insisted buildings constructed for the purpose of believers gathering together for worship are displeasing to God, when the Bible is silent on this issue? When the Bible doesn’t speak to an issue, how can men say that God condemns the practice?
G. Where was the Passover held? As proof that meetings and the emblems (communion) should only be taken in the home fellowship meeting, workers often state that the Passover was always held in homes.
The original Passover was definitely held in the individual homes of the Israelite slaves in Egypt. However, when God re-established the remembrance of the Passover through Moses before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, He took the observance of the Passover (and the celebration of God’s deliverance) out of the individual homes and put it in “the place which the LORD shall choose to place His name there,” Deut 16:2. The place where the LORD shall choose to set his name to dwell is also referred to in Deut 12:5-6, 11 and 14:22-26. They were further told in Deut 16, “You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you EXCEPT in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his name. There you must sacrifice the Passover… Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.” Additional references to the Passover being held in Jerusalem and at the temple include 2 Kings 23:22-23; 2 Chron 30; 2 Chron 35; Luke 2:41-42 and John 11:54-57.
It says, “about 3,000 were added to their number that day.” Then, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship… ALL the believers were together… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts… And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” This is no record of just a small house gathering! After the number of men who believed the message grew to about 5,000 (Acts 4:4), we are told, “ALL the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade (Acts 5:12-13). No one else dared to join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.” This large group of believers were meeting together at the temple — not a home.
James 2:2 says, “For if there come unto your ASSEMBLY a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel…” The Jewish New Testament uses the word “synagogue” in this verse. The Greek word which was translated here as “assembly” is “sunagogue.” It means an assemblage of people; specifically, a Jewish “synagogue”. This Greek word is used 58 times in the New Testament: 56 times it was translated into the word “synagogue” and referred to a Jewish synagogue; 1 time it was translated as “congregation” (in Acts 13:43, speaking of the gathering at a Jewish synagogue) and 1 time James used this same word when writing of a gathering of believers. Does James’ choice of wording here indicate that James, or God, was overly concerned with the location where Christians would gather to worship their Lord and King?
Check out a few other translations:
“For if a man comes into your* synagogue…” (Analytical-Literal Translation)
“For if there come into your synagogue a man…” (American Standard Version)
“For if a man comes into your Synagogue…” (Bible in Basic English)
“…comes to one of your meetings…” (Contemporary English Version)
“…comes into your assembly,…” (English Standard Version,)
The original Greek word used was συναγωγή, (Strong’s Concordance No. G4864) = sunagoge; an assemblage of persons; specifically a Jewish “synagogue” (the meeting or the place); by analogy a Christian church: assembly, congregation, synagogue.
Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,” Matt 18:20. Was the New Testament church concerned with the place of worship? Does the Bible instruct that the only acceptable place for assembling to worship is in a home?
H. Where does the Scripture indicate using a building for worship services is displeasing to God?
One must tear “the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” completely out of its context to use Acts 17:24, 7:48 for the answer. Does this verse say God will NOT be found in a church building? No — it points to where He IS found — in the hearts of His children. A church building is just an empty shell. Of course, God does not live there. He lives in individuals…”ye are God’s building” 1 Cor. 3:9. Believers are both individually and collectively the temple of God, 1 Cor 3:16-17, 6:19; and 2 Cor 6:16. If this verse literally means God isn’t ever found in buildings made for Him with men’s hands, then it also has to mean God isn’t ever found in homes, convention buildings, or tents either, since they are also made with hands.
Compiled by Cherie Kropp