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Did God create a leadership structure in the church?

Yes: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be
evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11)

What was God’s purpose in doing this?


“To prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become
mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13)

Does a church need elders?


Yes, Paul commands it: “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out
what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” (Titus 1:5)

What was God’s purpose in having elders?


“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can
encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

Without an eldership of tested men who hold to sound doctrine there is a danger that what
is being taught might not be true. Even Paul returned to Jerusalem to submit his gospel to
Peter, James, and John to make sure his doctrine was sound: “Fourteen years later I went
up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response
to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did
this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run
my race in vain.” (Galatians 2:1-2)

How did the early church operate?


Submission to higher authority: “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)

There was a structure of leadership: “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and
teachers.” (Acts 13:1)

Paul urged the saints to submit to evangelists and pastors: “You know that the
household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted
themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and
to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it.” (1 Corinthians 16:15-16)

The author of Hebrews commands that we obey and submit to the authority of
church leaders: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider
the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith…Obey your leaders and submit to
their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them
so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
(Hebrews 13:7…17)

Are house churches biblical?


Yes! When Saul (Paul) began to persecute the church we’re told, “But Saul began to
destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put
them in prison.” (Acts 8:3). The church would meet in houses.

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for
me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the
church that meets at their house.” (Romans 16:3-5)

“Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her
house.” (Colossians 4:15)

Make sure you don’t go tell your friend that her house church isn’t good enough and that
she needs to quit the “church” in favor of meeting at a building. The only concern you
should have is that her “church” submits to authority. House churches are wonderful,
biblical things, and shouldn’t be discouraged. It’s just important to make sure the
doctrine being taught is truth. That can only be done by testing the teaching with a
broader fellowship of believers. But your friend can do this with YOU on a regular basis.