Hi Tommy. I don’t know how one can read the scripture and conclude that two or three can be a functioning church. The bible, as you know, illustrates the church by way of the “body” where each “member” has a unique and important function. You are not going to get all of that out of “two or three”. The bible also speaks of a multitude of gifts that are necessary for a healthy church. That is not going to happen with “two or three”. And then there are a multitude of roles ie prophet, teacher, evangelist, etc. Again, not likely to happen with “two or three”. And then there are the offices, Elders, Deacons, etc. The concept of a church of “two or three” also doesn’t fit with the historical record very well.
I think it is a very dangerous trend in the modern church to gravitate toward “Since I can’t find enough people I can get along with, I’ll settle for “two or three”. Actually only one necessary (me), since with Christ in the midst, that makes two. The wicked rulers in this world would love to settle for two or three makes a church, it would justify Islamic and Communist countries shutting down all of the corrupt attempts at Christian “organized religion” and providing religious freedom for Christians as a “biblical” two or three solution.
This whole argument is the epitome of the attack on the institutional church which is just another example of the lawlessness in the world today. When the scripture warns against resisting the powers (for all the powers are of God), that includes the visible church as much as it includes the visible government. The government of Jesus day (Rome) was debauched and corrupted and yet God put His stamp of approval on it and backed it with His authority. So it is today with the governments of this world AND the church powers of this world. Men, especially Christians, ought to approach these with fear, but they don’t because they themselves have a major spiritual problem that they are attempting to hide behind self righteousness.
Hi all. Good things here to read and consider. Let me add that the scripture makes no regulation about the number of a church - it's members or leaders. Nor is there a timeline given to reach a certain size or to elect leaders. This process could take years.
True, I don’t think scripture really tries to define the size of a congregation, but it does very strongly imply order, structure and unity. I don’t see how that can be accomplished with simply two or three. For sure, where ever two or three believers are, the church is there, and, as a matter of fact, where ever one believer is, the church is there, but, like the bodies we dwell in, so the church dwells in a physical body which is the institution or organization.
Just as we live in bodies damaged by the fall, so the institutions in which we find the church are imperfect and marred by sin. And just as some wish to disown their flesh put on a spiritual body now, others wish to disown the structure of the church, the earthly Jerusalem, and create a Heavenly one now. But that is not going to happen until Christ returns. Thus we remain pilgrims awaiting our King’s return. In the mean time we need to put aside petty issues and try to find a place where we can grow spiritually and be a blessing.
If someone feels a call from God to start a new church, I am not going to fault that. Neither am I going to fault someone who’s conscience is troubled by the sorts of evil things their church might be engaged in to the point that they leave and join another congregation. But the constant desire to escape from “organized religion” troubles me greatly because the pattern set in the New Testament itself shows order, authority, complexity, all the traits that these people are trying to avoid in the name of finding true fellowship. I think they are fooling themselves in this regard.