Ask Your Preacher
“Location TBD”Categories: DOCTRINE, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
Where is the command, example, or necessary inference for a church owning property?
Book, Chapter, Verse
Dear Book, Chapter, Verse,
Every command that you find in the Bible has specific and general qualities to it. For example, when God told Noah to build the ark, He told Noah to use a specific kind of wood (gopher wood – Gen 6:14) and build the ark to specific dimensions (Gen 6:15-16), but He left the details of how to cut, fasten, and construct the ark up to Noah. It would have been wrong for Noah to use oak or birch, and it would have been wrong for Noah to change the dimensions of the ark, but aside from that, Noah had freedom to use his own wisdom in the engineering of the ark. The things that God was specific on, Noah had to be specific on to… but the things God was general about, Noah had freedom to decide for himself.
Another way of saying this is that anything required to fulfill a command is inherent within the command. This means that if I ask someone to fill my car with gasoline, by default, I have given them permission to drive my car and take it to a gas station of their choosing. Why? Because driving my car and going to a gas station are necessary to fulfill that command, and I didn’t tell them which gas station I wanted, so I’ve left that to their discretion.
Both of these examples lead us back to your question. The command that gives a congregation the authority to own property can be found in Heb 10:24-25 and 1 Cor 14:26. In both those verses, the church is commanded to assemble. We are told that we must assemble, or we will be displeasing to God… but we aren’t told where to assemble; that detail is left to our discretion. We could meet in homes (if we had ones that were big enough), we could meet in a park (if it were legal and weather permitting), or we could buy some property and a building to use. All of those options would be permissible, and each congregation has the freedom to decide where they wish to assemble because God has commanded us to meet regularly, but He left the details to us.