| Re: House Church, Building Church...Where is that?|
Whyme, regarding your question as to "where is that." I'm sure you're familiar with the references to Christians meeting in homes (Romans 16:5; I Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).
Aside from the large meetings on Solomon's Portico in the book of Acts, the only place other than homes I've seen people meet regularly was when Paul held daily evangelistic/teaching meetings in the "Lecture Hall" of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9).
I hope most people here are aware that Christians only "went into real estate" in a big way after the conversion of Constantine.
In my opinion, Constantine was the single greatest corruptor of the church ever. He not only transferred pagan temples to Christian control, but he introduced iron-clad demands for orthodoxy and uniformity that did not exist previously.
Under Constantine, a whole imperial philosophy of hierarchy and external controls was introduced into the churches, from which we have never recovered.
The Protestant reformation was far too limited in its scope.
House churches are in the Bible. "Building churches" are not, although people who are committed to the status quo can make an argument for them based on Solomon's Portico, Hall of Tyrannus, and pragmatic convenience.
* * * * * * * *
I personally despise church buildings for the damage they do and have done to the Body of Christ over the centuries. There is a huge difference: Christians ministering to one another face to face in a living room or courtyard, and Christians all facing forward toward the pulpit and altar.
In one setting we are able to minister to one another as the Scripture exhorts, in the other we are told what to believe and controlled by ordained clergy. [This is a loaded characterization, but it does express how I feel.]
* * * * * * * *
Although the situation in China is instructive and important, I don't view house churches in terms of their relationship to persecution.
House churches are important because, ideally, they allow local expressions of the Body of Christ to grow and mature together as people build one another up in love.
The main downside to house churches: they can allow carnal Christians to dominate and lord it over weaker personalities. In these situations, hopefully people are not damaged too badly before they vote with their feet.
I greatly regret that I am not sufficiently gifted to minister in a house church setting.
| 2010/7/26 1:45|
East TN (for now)
| Re: |
My personal experience is that large churches will control what a person preaches and teaches because they are denominationalized somehow, someway. The leader or leaders control what is preached.
In the home churches it seems like people are more hungry for the Spirit of God and want the freedom that comes with it. But if you are going to control the Holy Spirit in your house church, you might as well stay in the church building because you're doing the same thing the they are doing; different day or place but the same exact stuff.
| 2010/7/26 6:56||Profile|
| Re: Lysa|
My personal experience is that large churches will control what a person preaches and teaches because they are denominationalized somehow, someway. The leader or leaders control what is preached. In the home churches it seems like people are more hungry for the Spirit of God and want the freedom that comes with it. But if you are going to control the Holy Spirit in your house church, you might as well stay in the church building because you're doing the same thing the they are doing; different day or place but the same exact stuff.
That was the exact reason i left last house fellowship. The Holy Ghost was not welcome i felt. People wanted to limit the spirit to thier experience of the Holy Spirit (very cold i might add) all gifts of the spirit was subtlely outlawed.
| 2010/7/26 7:02||Profile|
East TN (for now)
| Re: |
"There is a huge difference: Christians ministering to one another face to face in a living room or courtyard, and Christians all facing forward toward the pulpit and altar."
Amen and amen, Ron!
I didn't read your post until after I posted but I definitely agree with you. Thanks for your input!!
God bless you,
| 2010/7/26 7:04||Profile|
| Re: |
Lysa and Ronald,
Thanks for the various pieces of input.
RainMan, you input is mostly what has been experienced here.
This whole thread--(thanks for starting it osandoval, and everybodies response is just awesome.
Though i hardly advocate much of Gothardism (as emphasis seems lacking regarding Jesus' finished work), i was given a book written by Mr. Bill. It's title is something like, "The Seven-fold power of the House Church.
i'm gonna read it through.
Though Miccah and Matt really have not tried to prove anything except there is a right towards this, these texts hold alot of sway. i never have advocated one form over another; but reading one short post by Greg Gordon on another thread really got me thinking about all this.
i have always considered the emphasis on structure, be it building or heirarchy, whther big or small to be residual lues of Romanism along with emphasis on doctrine that does not point us directly to Jesus Christ.
This ordained carpenter has to go to work another long houred week, but i really am so grateful how God manifests His provision in the bad economic times more-so than when things are rolling along good for most.
i'll be back, yet presently, i remain undecided.
Love, Hope, and Faith,
| 2010/7/26 8:31|
| Re: |
It seems to me that neither house churches/fellowships, nor churches/fellowships that meet in set aside structures, are good or bad. Neither one is the "correct" model with the other being a "lesser" option. They each have a place. The issue is not whether people meet in a large set aside building or in someones living room. The issue is the heart, gifting, passion, anointing, and call of God upon those leading in either circumstance.
I think it seems reasonable to find that balance when we consider the reference in Acts.
Day after day, IN THE TEMPLE COURTS AND FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:42 NIV (capitalizations mine)
It seems they had the leadership ability and heart for the Lord to be used by God in EITHER circumstance. One is not better than the other. They are just different... and are both very helpful models in the Kingdom when used properly with the correct attitude and heart. imho.
| 2010/7/26 9:54||Profile|
| Re: |
"Though Miccah and Matt really have not tried to prove anything except there is a right towards this..."
And you will not hear me trying to prove House Church to anyone. You will hear me say that House Church is not for eveyone and that you should follow the lead of the Lord.
Folks, I could care less if you like, love, hate or think that house church is evil, same goes with institutional churchs. It is not my place to judge how another brother or sister chooses to worship the Lord, as long as they are not in sin doing so. I will speak out to anyone who says that only one way to worship is mandated (and that one way is usually a personal opinion on how to worship), or that if you don't worship in the way that they feel is right, you are in sin. This line of thought is against scripture, that we need to worship similarily to each other. Some like big buildings, some don't. Some like both. I fall into the last category.
If the Lord meets you in House Church, fantastic! If the Lord meets you in a church building, fantastic! If the Lord meets you in a jail cell, fantastic! If the Lord meets you on your death bed, fantastic! But I am pretty sure that the Lord will not meet you on this forum nit picking over how his children prefer to worship Him.
If the Spirit of God is not in what you are doing, then you are doing something wrong.
| 2010/7/26 10:13||Profile|
| Re: |
Brothers, I am very sympathetic to the house church movement. But I must say, I personally see examples of both in the New Testament, small gatherings and larger assemblies. And I think if we read the Bible with an open mind and heart, as much as I am a fan of open-participatory meetings, it seems the larger services were "run" (for lack of a better term) by those who were more seasoned in the faith.
I was wondering what you base this statement on? If you are using 'assemblies' as the local covenant community I am not sure there are any examples of their meetings in large numbers.
The gathering in the courts of the Temple was certainly large but was it a 'gathering of the local covenant community' or was it simply a 'meeting'.
I think we have two models for meetings in the NT. (I don't mean model as in a prescriptive blueprint). There is the School of Tyrranus model...
Act 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
but this seems much more of the nature of an 'outreach' than the gathering of and for the saints.
Then we have the 1Cor 'model' which is highly participatory and has no mention of elders at all. I don't think that means they didn't have them but simply that they were not the focus of the gathering of the saints.
I doubt that they would have had 'hymns' or even 'prayer' in the Tyrannus model. I think it was the a platform for the propagation of the gospel.
One of the struggles is that many of our meetings are a not very subtle blend of the two models and we then have the question as to whether the 'meeting' should be 'seeker sensitive' or 'saint sensitive'.
I have been involved in 'house churches' for 40 years now in various roles and am very convinced of their flexibility, but there is always the temptation to settle into a pattern and it needs a constant flow of the Spirit in the midst to ensure we don't produce another 'tradition'.
| 2010/7/26 10:38||Profile|
| Re: |
"Day after day, IN THE TEMPLE COURTS AND FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:42 NIV (capitalizations mine)"
Good point Solomon, I was wondering if maybe all of this discussion on which is proper or correct to use has slowed down the second half of this verse any. "they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ"
Seems God doesn't really have a preferance as long as this is being done. :)
| 2010/7/26 10:54||Profile|
| Re: |
Recently took a week off from working out in the Gym. I was completely beaten up. I mean i was physically hurting i was training twice a day before and after work. So i decided to change my grueling regime to 3 weeks on 1 week off. So today i have started the first day of another cycle. What does this have to do you with this thread you ask? eh.. patience all will be revealed.
I was sat in my local mcdonalds having a rather un-healthy burger and i got thinking. I eat literally whatever i want to because i know that each day i will have a calorie deficit. So while a burger would would not make me gain weight the 300 pound lady wolfing down the super sized meal was eating herself to an early grave... (Stay with me im going somewhere)
i reflected back on myself and realized that if i had exhibited a bit more self control in the past i would not have the 25 pounds of weight i was trying to shift (More vanity than health).
I ask the question, if we are walking Spirit led lives shouldnt we natuarally exhibit self control?
Whats the importance? Well for me its important that the Spirit is present and allowed to take control of anywhere i fellowship. But even when the Spirit is present the flesh is present as well. If we could leave our flesh at home and go to bible study in the spirit literally without leaving our homes that would be awesome. But the fact is this horrible flesh of mine God has chosen to be his temple and other also. The flesh wars against the Spirit and will naturally do what is contrary to the Spirit. Self Control can be the difference between being a Spirit Man or a Carnal Man.
"Blessed are those who are not offended in me"
Now watch this!
We are no longer slaves to the flesh. We dont have to be angry, malicious, rude, short-tempered know it alls. Jesus demonstrated such humility by washing the feet of his disciples. We can choose this humilty and meekness cant we? We can choose to love. We can choose to be gentle and meek and patient. We dont have to get angry when someone rebukes us or challenges us in some way. Pride says "i am theologically always right". Meekness says "Lord i dont care about being wrong or right only that you teach me your word that my soul may prosper"
Paul didnt have the internet around in his time so there is nothing about the internet in new testament (and dont try to prove to me with ancient greek Paul had a computer) If we treat Sermon Index as electronic fellowship how do we do most of the time with the needless arguments that can be avoided with a little self control?
1 not judging to rashly before we know where someone is coming from *excluding heretics*
2 being patient even when someone says something that upsets us (actually admitting we are upset would be the first step)
3 being vessels of rhema and not just logos
The point is lets use SI as a template for and an ideal church/fellowship we are the temple of his Spirit. The promise was he would live in us. If we have arguments over what is ideal isn't it ironic we all long for the ideal church?.
is it the church that must change or us?
If we rearrange structures with the same kind of people will the results be any different?
Anyway i feel hungry after all that typing i need a health bar.
2 Peter 1:5-10 (New International Version)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,
| 2010/7/26 11:19||Profile|