By Tarry L.CluffFort
There is a great deal of misunderstanding by many as to the purpose of the church. Some think that the church should be a political power to involve itself in the politics of the land. Others feel that the church has the task of educating people with secular knowledge. There are still others that think the church should go into secular business in order to make money. All of these ideas are foreign to the Bible teaching as to why Christ died or built His church.
Nevertheless, one of the most erroneous ideas that people have about the church is that the church is to be some kind of a social club or center. This, too, is foreign to Bible teaching. This erroneous idea has led to “fellowship halls” and kitchens being built, bingo games, parties, and entertainment of every kind. But where is the authority from God’s word for the church to be a social club? Where in God’s word did Christ ever teach that this is a work of His church? Is this one of the purposes Christ died to build a church?
When Paul wrote to the brethren at Corinth concerning their attitude toward the Lord’s supper, he made a comment that we should observe: “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (1 Cor. 11:20-22). They had made the Lord’s supper no more important than a common meal, a social gathering. Paul went on to explain what the Lord’s supper should mean to the Christian and concluded his argument with these words: “If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come tegether for judgment 11:34).
Now I do not know any church that uses their “fellowship hall” in their observance of the Lord’s supper. But the use that is made by churches with their “fellowship halls” or their kitchens, (neither are even mentioned in the Bible) is the same type of abuse that the Corinthians were guilty of in regards to the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s supper is an act of worship, which the Corinthian brethren abused by making it of no more importance than a common meal. That same type of abuse is done when people make the church into a social club by having a “fellowship hall” in their buildings.
Jesus intended His church to be a spiritual organization, not a social organization. Peter wrote: “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). The church is to provide the Gospel of Christ to save a person’s soul, (Rom. 1:16-17). This is called evangelism. The church also edifies her members so each member grows in the gospel. The only other thing the church is authorized to do is to relieve the needs of her members if they become in need of such relief. (Eph. 4:12, 1 Cor. 16:1).
Let us let the church be the church and a social club be a social club.
Truth Magazine XXI: 1, pp. 10-11
January 6, 1977