The Word of God throughout the Scriptures reveals that every believer was
allowed to participate and function in ministry to one another; this is what
Paul taught everywhere in every church (1 Cor. 4:17; 12:4-11; 14:23-33; 15:58).
The apostles taught believers by giving them instruction on how to participate
and function in ministry, one to another as the church (Rom. 15:14, Eph.
5:15-21; Col. 3: 16-17; 1Thess. 4:19; 5:14; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:10; 10:19-25; James
5:19-20; 1 Peter 2:5, 9; 4:7-11; Rev. 1:5-6). Jesus taught his apostles and
disciples to meet in houses (Matt. 10:5-15; 18:20; Luke 9:2-6; 10:1-12). The
practice of meeting in homes or houses of believers continued for about the
first 300 years of the Church’s existence, until the first buildings were built
during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine (Acts 16:15, 40; 28:30-31;
Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Phm. 1:2). The Emperor Constantine was born
around 272-285 A.D. and lived until the time of his death in 337 A.D.
Over time departures from the faith and traditions of the apostles began to take place, just as the apostle Paul had warned the elders in Ephesus (Acts 20:17, 29-32). The new buildings built for the church [the body of Christ] to use as a meeting place were designed for a speaker/audience setting. The speaker/audience method of meeting transformed an every believer participating and functioning church into an audience of pastor-dependent, passive spectators. This method of meeting made for an easier transition and departure from an every believer participating and functioning church, as the apostles taught the believers, to a single bishop headship lording over the household of God.
When the Emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christians, it actually became advantageous and beneficial to be a believer. Constantine began to make Christianity the most popular religion and packed it with benefits, making it the “in thing” at the time. It could even lead to a permanent income with positions of power, rank, respect, and authority over believers. Under the Emperor Constantine the Christian clergy began to receive an annual income and in time they also received tax exempt status. Those in the clergy became the elite class receiving preferential treatment; the clergy eventually received the same respect, benefits, privileges, and entitlements as the Roman officials. All of the benefits and perks of being a Christian, especially being a member of the clergy, led to the popularity of Christianity.
Christianity rapidly grew in numbers as many unsaved and unrepentant people began to enter into the church to become members for only its privileges.
The increase of unsaved and unrepentant people in the Church led to a carnal and worldly Church, devoid of an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ and His power. The result of the carnal church was a lifeless and dead church, lacking the power of the Holy Spirit to transform the hearts and lives of men (2 Tim. 3:5). Eventually the Catholic Church’s structure became an institutional organization in nature, eliminating the priesthood of all believers, and exercised power and control over the family of God.
The Catholic Church also departed from the practice of willful, cheerful spontaneous giving, making tithing a requirement to support the paid clergy. The Catholic Church documents its own departure from the apostles' doctrine. The Catholic Encyclopedia 1912 edition states the following concerning tithing:
Meeting in the homes of believers and returning to the apostles’ faith, doctrine, and practices would transform the church today as we know it. The return of believers meeting in homes would support, encourage, and enable every believer to participate and function in ministry as the apostles taught. When every believer participates and functions in ministry to one another, it removes the hierarchal system of positions (Matt. 23:8-12). Meeting in house churches also eliminates the need to require believers to tithe to provide for building expenses and salaries for paid ministry. This would enable believers to give freely and willingly to support and ensure equality among believers and make sure basic necessities were met for all believers. Believers meeting in homes are also known as house churches, organic church and simple churches.
Through our lack of studying the Word ourselves, we have lost our foundational apostolic teachings. The Church [the body of Christ] has lost sight of the simplicity in Christ to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. If we truly lived to love one another and serve one another, there would be no sin in the Church. There would be no fornication, adultery, jealousy, envy, covetousness, hate, domestic abuse, or divorces, no need for our denominational or church polity, or selfish ambition pursuing hierarchal positions or titles. The apostle Paul simplified our relationship with God and one another in Galatians 5:13-14 saying, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love sever one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”