By: Theophilus Izobofolo
CAN A MAN OWN A CHURCH?
If we put the definition of the New Testament Local Assembly (Local Church) and modus operandi into perspective, no human could own a church. Christ is the sole owner of the church. He has no rival.
The Local Church is a community of brethren who worship and pray together, minister to one another and reach out to the unsaved in a mutually accountable atmosphere.
The leadership of such an assembly is plural and not singular. Such leaders can’t claim ownership of the church. Though God can use one person or a group of people to start it, the ownership is Christ’s. This must be both in principle and practice for such an assembly to function normally.
Now we have seen several instances where some persons, especially in the Pentecostal-Charismatic circle, claim they are the owners of their churches. They use the first person singular possessive pronouns whenever they make reference to the Local Assembly. So, we hear phrases like “my church”, “my labor”, “my sweat” etc. when referring to the Local Assembly.
This is not really about what people say but about the mindset (attitude) they have concerning the ownership of the Church. Since the Bible says “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, we are safe to conclude all these personalized utterances are a reflection of the mindset of those who make them concerning the ownership of the Local Assembly.
We have already stated that no one could own a church because the church belongs to Christ. Let’s hypothetically agree humans could own a church, is it really possible for one person to own a church considering that every Local Church is built by the voluntary services and monetary contributions of the members, no matter how small? How can one person own what the generality of the people built together?
We need to realize that once a person has mentally hijacked the ownership of the Assembly, and shows the brethren either by word or action, it becomes impossible for the people to freely give of their services and money to the cause. Such a person would have to employ various kinds of unscriptural schemes and manipulations to make the people yield to his wishes. This is why whoever lays claim to church ownership can’t remain innocent.