Note: We have been asked to answer the following question: If a brother has a disagreement, where does Scripture say it is okay to start having church at home?
There are a lot of details involved in the question that are unknown, but I will deal with some of the implications of what may be being asked. I am not sure if the disagreement under consideration is a personal disagreement between brethren or a disagreement with the congregation over something that is being taught, so I am somewhat limited in my ability to answer the inquirer.
If brethren have a disagreement caused by one sinning against the other, the Bible is very clear on how to solve the situation. In Matt. 18:15-17 Jesus outlined the steps that should be followed in solving the problem. (1) “Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (2) “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (3) “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” If brethren will only follow these instructions, most personal sins between brethren can be solved.
Sometimes brethren may disagree strongly over a matter of judgment. Paul and Barnabas disagreed over the question of taking John Mark with them on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:16-41). The scripture says, “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus” (v. 39). This was simply a difference of opinion; it was not wrong to take John Mark, and it was not wrong to refuse to take him; and it actually resulted in two missionary groups with four preachers instead of two with two preachers; thus more good could be accomplished.
Now let’s deal with what I believe may be what the caller is asking. If a brother or sister disagrees with what is being taught in a congregation, what should he do? There are several things that I do not know from the information given. Was the church teaching something that was false or is the brother disagreeing with the truth that is being taught by the church? If false doctrine is being taught, my suggestion would be to talk to the elders. If they refuse to handle the problem and stop the false teaching, then by all means one should not just continue to participate. But what should he do? I can find no scriptural authority for him to just start having his own worship service at his home. When there are other faithful congregations of the Lord’s church he should seek one and place his membership with them. If one family has a right to worship at home, then all would have that same right; and that destroys the assembly and Hebrews 10:25 deals with that situation.
However if the disagreement is because the brother refuses to believe and accept the truth that is being taught, then he is the one who is obligated to repent and correct his life. We have far too many people just church shopping trying to find some congregation that agrees with their false position on some subject. In the words of James, on another subject, “Brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
Paul M. Wilmoth