Does "doing all the right things" make a group of believers an assembly?

Does "doing all the right things" make a group of believers an assembly?

No. The title used in the New Testament for an assembly is "church of God." This indicates both the ownership and origin of an assembly. It originates with a divine work. Only God can save souls, but the existence of a number of believers doesn’t constitute an assembly. In Athens, we have no indication of the planting of an assembly, although a number there were saved (Acts 17:34). In the "pattern assembly" at Jerusalem, "they that gladly received His word" were baptized and added to "the fellowship" (Acts 2:41, 42). This willingness to receive the truth of God is essential in the planting of an assembly, because believers are to "continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine." How will these new believers know how to function as an assembly without being taught?

More than that, if the Lord is working to plant an assembly, we would expect some indication that He is raising up a plurality of men with shepherd hearts (Acts 20:28). Novices are not yet fitted for that work (1 Tim 3:6); however, when God is forming an assembly, we would expect some among these new believers to display a potential for that work.

The Lord Jesus explained His use of the word "church" (Mat 18:17) by saying, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name . . ." (v 20). Those gathered did not gather themselves, but are drawn to "the name" by another agent, evidently the Spirit of God. This is related to the Old Testament expression, "the place which the Lord shall choose to place His name there" (Deu 16:2). The Lord establishes the testimony (places His name) and believers are drawn to what He has established.

"Doing all the right things" will never make a company an assembly if the Lord has not first of all made it an assembly.

David Oliver