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Question #69

Is it wrong to eat in the church building?

Is it wrong to eat in the church building?

The Answer:

No, which are the first two letters of “nonsense.” I don’t intend to be disrespectful, but such a position is silly. There was no such thing as a “church building” in the days of the New Testament. True, this does not mean that there are no principles that might apply. Taking that into consideration, I am aware of no New Testament principles that would forbid eating in the church building. To the extent that early Christians met in homes, it is a valid assumption that those homes had kitchens in them. The only record we have of a meal by the assembled church is in 1 Corinthians 14, where the church in Corinth was apparently engaging in the “agape” or “love feast.” Paul did not condemn the practice – he condemned the manner in which it was being observed – selfishly and without consideration for brethren who had nothing to eat. Many who believe that it is sin to eat in the church house drink in the church house (water fountains). Babies are fed in the building. Those who will not eat in the building make arrangements to rid themselves of what they have eaten or drunk (restrooms). Some even use the building for a “bedroom” (sleeping through worship). The building is not sacred. Some congregations that could not afford a building met in rented halls from which the beer cans had to be swept to clean up before worship. We will do better to be more concerned about the nature of our worship in the building. Some may say that you cannot worship in a place where you have meals together. The early Christians did. Some may say it is alright is you have “dinner on the ground,” outside the building. Upon what scripture do they rely to establish that, while the building is sacred, the ground upon which it sits is not?

That said, for those who believe that it is wrong, to them it is sin. It is not the case that our belief can make a right thing wrong in itself, or a wrong thing right. It is to say that it is wrong to violate our conscience. Speaking of matters of opinion, Paul said, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:22-23.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)