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Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 C.H. Spurgeon on House Churches?

I was intrigued when I came across the following excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon's sermon titled "Additions to the Church". You can read the whole sermon here: http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/1167.htm

"I want you to notice this, that they were breaking bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart. They did not think that religion was meant only for Sundays, and for what men now-a-days call the House of God. Their own houses were houses of God, and their own meals were so mixed and mingled with the Lord's Supper that to this day the most cautious student of the Bible cannot tell when they stopped eating their common meals, and when they began eating the Supper of the Lord. They elevated their meals into diets for worship: they so consecrated everything with prayer and praise that all around them was holiness to the Lord. I wish our houses were, in this way, dedicated to the Lord, so that we worshipped God all day long, and made our homes temples for the living God...

Does God need a house? He who made the heavens and the earth, does he dwell in temples made with hands? What crass ignorance this is! No house beneath the sky is more holy than the place where a Christian lives, and eats, and drinks, and sleeps, and praises the Lord in all that he does, and there is no worship more heavenly than that which is presented by holy families, devoted to the fear of the Lord.

To sacrifice home worship to public worship is a most evil course of action. Morning and evening devotion in a little home is infinitely more pleasing in the sight of God than all the cathedral pomp which delights the carnal eye and ear. Every truly Christian household is a church, and as such it is competent for the discharge of any function of divine worship, whatever it may be. Are we not all priests? Why do we need to call in others to make devotion a performance? Let every man be a priest in his own house. Are you not all kings if you love the Lord? Then make your houses palaces of joy and temples of holiness. One reason why the early church had such a blessing was because her members had such homes. When we are like them we will have “added to the church those who were being saved.” --C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)



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Oracio

 2011/6/2 20:50Profile
StarofG0D
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Joined: 2007/10/28
Posts: 1232
United States

 Re: C.H. Spurgeon on House Churches?

This is interesting brother. Though house churches can be good in some ways, I have always wondered if God would want a church to stay in that way. Is it possible for a church to function fully as a house church is my question? I am not sure. I would be interested in studying and knowing more about it. Thanks!

Glad for this post!


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Michelle

 2011/6/2 21:09Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

The Scriptures seem to paint the picture that the church met primarily in the homes of its members in any locality. But, the evidence suggests that they also had larger public assemblies. Instead of an "either-or" I think the answer is "both-and." There is definitely a time for smaller gatherings. But there is also a time for larger gatherings, especially so that the local elders & fathers of faith may address the local body of Christ. A church that only has one of these formats will probably not thrive as it ought.


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Jimmy H

 2011/6/2 21:19Profile
rbanks
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Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


 Re:

Thank you brother for posting this message on house worship. I hope to use it in one of my upcoming messages. We are to be the church 7 days a week and not just go to a church building 2 or 3 times a week. I believe the very reason many are not spiritual and on fire for God witnessing Jesus Christ to others continually is because they are not continually worshipping God in their homes everyday. Church is to be everyday.

I do believe as did Spurgeon that there is a need for public worship with others in the body of Christ but this is not to take the place of worshipping in our homes. When we separate our homes from our church life then this becomes the very reason many are not living the victorious Christian life.

Blessings to you!

 2011/6/2 21:30Profile









 Re: C.H. Spurgeon on House Churches?

Quote:
"I want you to notice this, that they were breaking bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart. They did not think that religion was meant only for Sundays, and for what men now-a-days call the House of God. Their own houses were houses of God,



Thank you for this posting. I agree with this line of thinking from Spurgeon. And still the "Christian" church today in America is far from it. Their Christianity does not even make it past the front door. How many couples invite in the homeless? I know only of the late Keith Green who did such a "novel" thing. How many invite in single Christians from the congregation who don't have family to eat with on holidays or any other day? How many even invite them over for supper after a Sunday service? How many go down to the mall after Church to spread the Gospel, instead of going home to watch the Superbowl?

 2011/6/2 21:30
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 Re:


Amen brother. I think the 'both-and' is the best model and fitting with Apostolic Christianity. But as Spurgeon pointed out, it is to our detriment if we just add a large cathedral and consider that only the house of God. And to apply it more spiritual each of us are not just priests but temples of God where He dwells by the Spirit. May God revive His Church and add to it daily in homes or larger temples!


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/6/2 21:31Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

KingJimmy wrote:

Quote:
The Scriptures seem to paint the picture that the church met primarily in the homes of its members in any locality. But, the evidence suggests that they also had larger public assemblies. Instead of an "either-or" I think the answer is "both-and." There is definitely a time for smaller gatherings. But there is also a time for larger gatherings, especially so that the local elders & fathers of faith may address the local body of Christ. A church that only has one of these formats will probably not thrive as it ought.



Brother/s, over the past few months I've been coming to lean toward or agree with that same view more and more regarding this issue.

One of the main points I got from that Spurgeon quote was that we need to get away from the idea of viewing a church building as a "House of God"; for we are the house of God individually and corporately. A church building should be viewed as a place where we may gather for public worship and edification , not as a church. The day to day spiritual life of the church should be experienced and seen primarily outside of the building. It seems to me that that was a vital and key element in the first century book of Acts church.

StarofGod, you brought up a good question. I wish I had time to post a well enough thought out answer but I will have to wait for a later time.


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Oracio

 2011/6/3 1:48Profile









 Re:

There is nothing wrong with a church meeting in a house, or not having a "church building". The building is made of wood, concrete and steel... and thats it. We worship God in spirit and in truth.

What IS wrong with house churching is when it is permeated with an "us against them" mentality, and a "rage against the institutional church". Sadly, my experience has been that that permeates most house churches. I was involved in that and I know of what I am speaking about. I have had to do a lot of repenting for that.

I used to promote the house church movement, but to be honest with you... anymore I highly recommend most Christians today not get involved because most Christians today are not spiritually mature enough to do it for the right reasons.

Yes, house churches thrive in different areas of the world... but they meet in houses out of necessity. In China the Christians are much more mature spiritually. I would dare not compare 99% of American Christians to Christians in China.

A house church MUST meet the Bible criteria of church leadership. If it does not, and it's just a group of rebels meeting to complain about the institutional church then it is out of order and God will not bless it.

I agree 100% with what Greg wrote.

Krispy

 2011/6/3 8:29
ThyKingCome
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Joined: 2011/4/19
Posts: 169
Southern CA

 Re: C.H. Spurgeon on House Churches?

Amen!! I could not agree more with Mr. Spurgeon. The idea behind his heart and teaching isn't to draw Christians away form public worship and corporate gatherings, for they are truly essential and necessary for the edifying of the Body. What I believe he is getting at is from the very heart of God to see the homes of these dear believers who are meeting corporately to be transformed into sanctuary's of the Lord.

In the Old Testament, the tents of the families were to be positioned in such a way where the door of the tent was facing the Tabernacle. This speaks of the presence and shekinah glory of God beaming into each tent and each individual dwelling! Would to God the homes of each Christian family would see the heavenly vision and call for this model. As brother Ravenhill used to say, "Forget getting Christ back into the schools, get Him back into the Home!". This plea could not be prayed and trumpet-blasted loud enough in today's Christian culture.

I personally believe, that the truest expression of revival is not when the "Big-Tent Revival" is filled and the roof is blowing off with God's glory, but when the glow remains on the faces of His people so much so that it goes into the homes. That we would have the testimony, "we looked to Him, and our faces were radiant" not just in public worship, but in home worship. What if every Christian man or woman was able to say as David said, "I will walk WITHIN MY HOUSE with a perfect heart"? Tragically, I don't think many can boldly say that. We walk within our churches with a divided heart because our homes are not in order, and then we walk within our houses with a hypocritical heart because we treat our families differently at home than we do in public. Would to God that He would raise up Priests and Kings in the home--that our houses of wood, hay and stubble would be transformed into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Oh, that prayers and praises would not cease to go up to heaven from our homes, and that the God-commissioned priests of their homes would rise early as Job did and trim the wicks to ensure the oil is flowing and the family is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. When a man is set on fire by God the first beneficiary of that fire should be those whom he lives with, in his home. That is true revival, and that is true home worship.

--Kevin


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Brother Kevin

 2011/6/3 10:54Profile
lylewise
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Joined: 2009/2/20
Posts: 494
Celina, Texas

 Re:

I agree so much with what is being said. I am not a part of the house church movement and I can see that there are pitfalls that are possible for both the I.C. and the H.C. I would ask where the practice of tradition is most likely to be found? Many in the I.C. have been awakened and see the tradition that is no better than what Catholicism has promoted for over the millenia. It is most grievous to one who gains sight within this setting. Wasn't Christ also grieved by what religion had become. Who was Christ often at odds with? So is it any wonder why there is such fallout and division? I do know first hand the us against them mentality and I do repent of it but I believe it to be a natural reaction. How one deals with it is a good topic for discussion. Maturity and conviction will overcome it and even allow Christians who have experienced this to counsel others reacting to this like dilemma. The gatherings and fellowships should be beyond this hurt and rebellion. We as Christians are to forgive and move on to better things and that should be a necessary promotion so our worship of Christ can continue unimpeded.

As for leadership, I think it a bit much that a start up church would have it altogether since the start ups in the N.T. were often without such leadership. Men were sent to help raise up such missing elements and I am sure it was not done within a time restriction. It takes a lot more faith to ask God to raise up leadership (and we must be very cautious of how we dispense this terminology) than feel the need to meet a model quickly. We should recognize these deficiencies and ask God to provide regardless of either model. Even though a church consist of 500 it would be very possible that none are qualified. How quickly men will dismiss this possibility for it is the common belief that there is strength in number. There is strength in number as long as that number is of God's strength.

I too agree with what Greg wrote. I do want to be be unaware of what has happened that has caused this movement such growth around us to get such footing.

If we dare not compare 99% of American Christians to Chinese Christians (and such a comparison is never to be made as we do not hold to man as our standard) then may God do a mighty work in the church in America.

Wait......maybe He already is.

 2011/6/3 11:22Profile





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