Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Bible Study Fined in California

A fine for a church gathering in a private home (or is it a church gathering?) This is an excerpt from an article at Charisma News.

Home Bible Study Fined in California:
 "Did you ever think you’d see the day in America when the government would harass you for studying the Bible in your own home? That day has finally come, and it’s a danger to the home church movement that’s spreading across the US.
A Southern California city is demanding that a small home Bible study group stop meeting unless they obtain a cost-prohibitive permit.
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were fined $300 for holding the Bible study."
You can click on the link to read the rest.

I'm not sure what bugs me more:  the fact that this family got fined for having a Bible study in their home or the fact that the group which is "not affiliated with any particular church nor are they seeking to establish a church in the home" actually IS the church gathered together   <<--->>   but if they were to admit to that then the local authorities would have every right (according to local law) to fine them every time they gathered without a Conditional Use Permit.

I ask:

  1. If this was a law in place in your local area how would you respond to the requirement? 
  2. Would you apply for the permit and play by their rules in order to maintain a fee-free gathering?  
  3. Should an informal Bible study be considered a church gathering?

'via Blog this'


  1. not "church", ekklesia?
    Religious machines are beginning to take offense at the difference, and surely the social-political machine is not far behind to see that these do not "go to church"; do not depend upon a particular meeting place. Neither is ekklesia as group Bible study devoted. So then, just what are these folks about?

  2. 1. Maybe God is using this to push this fellowship to meet from house to house, not just focus on one house. There are HUGE spiritual benefits from going house to house. We do a different house each month. It has a great dynamic for training up and reproducing leaders.

    2. As far as a city is concerned, a church is a 501c3 organization to garner tax free benefits and buy property under a name. An ekklecia in a home is nothing even close to this.

    3. This may be one of several reasons using the term "home church" is not a wise idea.

    Your questions:
    1. No, I'm not doing what they consider a church.
    2. No
    3. They should consider becoming an ekklesia gathering to enrich their fellowship, a broaden out to greater good works than just Bible study, even though that is a good foundation for the rest.

  3. Marshall,

    we can certainly see a potential for this type of governmental action spreading. It will be a sad day when the only "church" that is recognized are those that have established non-profit status with the government.

  4. Tim,

    like you, I hope this is a catalyst to drive this group into deeper fellowship. I think that sharing the function of hosting would take them to the next level. Hopefully they will see the truth that they are an assembly of those called out and embrace that in many more ways than just bible study.

  5. Having a heated discussion about this topic on Linked In, in one of the supposedly Christian groups I've joined there. Some believe that following the rule of law is a good idea.

    I take the opposite stance, and proclaim that a Bible study, no matter where it takes place, is indeed not a church, and different rules should apply. It was brought up that anyone in this city would have to obtain the permit if a gathering of more than six took place in a home, no matter the reason.

    Why haven't more house parties been fined in San Juan Capistrano as a result? I believe we know why.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.