The Only Kind of Church in the Bible

First, and foremost, institutional churches that meet in special buildings are unknown to the New Testament, whereas house churches were clearly the norm in the early church:

And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying (Acts 12:12; emphasis added).

…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly [but not in church buildings, obviously] and from house to house…(Acts 20:20; emphasis added)

Greet Prisca and Aquila….Also greet the church that is in their house (Rom. 16:3-5; emphasis added; see also Romans 16:14-15 for mention of two other probable house churches in Rome).

The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (1 Cor. 16:19; emphasis added).

Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house (Col. 4:15; emphasis added).

And to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house… (Philem. 1:2; emphasis added).

It has been argued that the only reason the early church didn’t build church buildings is because the church was still in her infancy. But that infancy lasted through quite a few decades of recorded New Testament history (and more than two centuries after it). So if the building of church buildings is a sign of the church’s maturity, the church of the apostles of which we read in the book of Acts didn’t ever mature.

I suggest that the reason none of the apostles ever built a church building is because such a thing, at bare minimum, would have been considered outside of God’s will, since Jesus left no such example or instruction. He made disciples without special buildings, and He told His disciples to make disciples. They would have not seen any need for special buildings. It is just that simple. When Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, His disciples did not think to themselves, “What Jesus wants us to do is to build buildings and give sermons to people there once a week.”

Additionally, building special buildings may even have been considered a direct violation of Christ’s commandment to not lay up treasures on the earth, wasting money on something that was entirely unnecessary, and robbing God’s kingdom of resources that could be used for transformational ministry.