"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Quotes About House Churches|
"We have no temples or alters." This statement, referring to Christians, comes from the pen of the apologist (defender) Minicus Felix, c 200, and all evidence supports its accuracy. Throughout at least the first two centuries there were no church buildings as such, and this was so remarkable that to the pagan population, it was considered grounds for accusing the Christians of 'atheism.' In a world notable for the number of its holy shrines and the rivers of blood that flowed daily from the sacrificial victims, Christians were conspicuous in that they possessed neither the first nor engaged in the second." Secular Use of Church Buildings, JG Davies, 1968: page 1.
"You mistakenly think we conceal what we worship since we have no temples or altars. Yet how can anyone make an image of God? Man himself is the image of God. How can anyone build a temple to Him, when the whole world can't contain Him? Even I, a mere human, travel far and wide. So how can anyone shut up the majesty of so great a Person within one small building? Isn't it better for Him to be dedicated in our minds and consecrated in our innermost hearts - rather than in a building?" Mark Felix in Octavius 2nd Century A.D.
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem... Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:19-24 (NIV)
"If you had asked, 'Where is the church?' in any important city of the ancient world where Christianity had penetrated in the first century, you would have been directed to a group of worshiping people gathered in a house. There was no special building or other tangible wealth with which to associate 'church', only people!" Walter Oetting, The Church of the Catacombs
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV)
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Acts 8:3 (NKJV)
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ. Romans 16:5 (NKJV)
The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 1 Cor 16:19 (NKJV)
Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. Col 4:15 (NKJV)
... to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Philem 1:2 (NKJV)
"When the church was very young, it had no buildings. Let us begin with that striking fact. That the church had no buildings is the most noticeable of the points of difference between the church of the early days and the church of today. In the minds of most people today, "church" means first a building, probably something else second; but seldom does "the church" stand for anything other than a building. Yet here is the fact with which we start: the early church possessed no buildings and carried on its work for a great many years without erecting any." Ernest Loosley, When The Church Was Young
Francis Schaeffer, in his book The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century writes concerning dedicated church buildings in this way: "It is interesting, however, that the church was in their home. Lightfoot says that there were no church buildings as such before the third century. Since Lightfoot made that statement, however, archaeologists found a most interesting place in Rome. Roman houses - unless they were the great mansions- were relatively small. What archaeologists found was a place with the facade of two houses still untouched, but with the internal walls torn out to make a larger room. And from everything that was found there, the archaeologists believe that this was a church building. This structure is dated at the end of the second century. But whether one accepts Lightfoot's starting point in the third century, or whether one dates it at the end of the second century, it really makes no difference. There is no biblical norm as to where, and where not, the church should meet. The central fact is that the early concept of the church had no connection with a church building. The church was something else: a group of Christians drawn together by the Holy Spirit in a place where they worked together in a certain form..."
Reformer Martin Luther wrote in 1526: "The right kind of evangelical order cannot be exhibited among all sorts of people, but those who are seriously determined to be Christians and confess the gospel with hand and mouth, must enroll themselves by name and meet apart in one house, for prayer, for reading, to baptize, to take the Sacrament, and exercise other Christian works. With such order it would be possible for those who did not behave in a Christian manner to be known, reproved, restored, or excluded, according to the rule of Christ (Matt. 18:15). Here also they could, in common, subscribe alms, which would be willingly given and distributed among the poor, according to the example of Paul (2 Cor. 9:1-12). Here it would not be necessary to have much or fine singing. Here a short and simple way of baptism and the Sacrament could be practiced, and all would be according to the Word and in love. But I cannot yet order and establish such an assembly...In the meantime I will call, excite, preach, help forward it, until Christians take the Word so in earnest, that they will themselves find how to do it and continue in it." Quoted by E. H. Broadbent in The Pilgrim Church
"Theologically, the church does not need temples. Church buildings are not essential to the true nature of the church. For the meaning of the tabernacle is God's habitation, and God already dwells within the human community of Christian believers. The people are the temple and the tabernacle... Thus, theologically church buildings are superfluous. They are not needed for priestly functions because all believers are priests and all have direct access, at whatever time and place, to the one great high priest. A church building cannot properly be "the Lord's house" because in the new covenant this title is reserved for the church as people (Eph. 2; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:21). A church building cannot be a "holy place" in any special sense, for holy places no longer exist. Christianity has no holy places, only holy people." Howard A. Snyder, The Problem of Wineskins, Chapter 4
"The church is never a place, but always a people; never a fold but always a flock; never a sacred building but always a believing assembly. The church is you who pray, not where you pray. A structure of brick or marble can no more be the church than your clothes of serge or satin can be you. There is in this world nothing sacred but man, no sanctuary of man but the soul. " John Havlik, People-Centered Evangelism
"Whether we are considering the smaller gatherings of only some Christians in a city, or the larger meetings involving the whole Christian population, it is in the home of one of the members that the 'ekklesia' is held-for example in the 'upper room.' Not until the third century do we have evidence of special buildings being constructed for Christian gatherings." Robert Banks, Paul's Idea of Community
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2016/3/13 12:38||Profile|
| Re: Quotes About House Churches|
Thank you for bringing this topic back to the fore of the forum! :)
| 2016/3/13 13:13||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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It is interesting that amongst many revival movements and reformational movements there have not been MANY that have brought the Church back to the simplicity of home meetings. Now we see this happening though all over the world in large revival movements such as China.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2016/3/13 14:54||Profile|
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Good stuff Greg! Thanks for sharing!
I saw another one I liked recently & posted it on my Instagram:
"We don't gather AT the church,
We gather AS the church"!
| 2016/3/13 22:19|
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Sooo, does that mean we are the church? :-)
| 2016/3/14 8:56|
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I have some questions that I would love others here to answer:
1) Is it necessary for believers to gather in local churches with others in local assemblies? Is this commanded in the scriptures? Is this considered the normal christian life and assumed to be so by the apostles and early church fathers? Please provide backup if you can.
2) If believers choose to not do this or make no effort to do this what are they really missing out on, if anything? In other words, what difference does it make?
3) Is a christian wrong or disobedient or deceived or in rebellion or any such thing when they state that it is not necessary to "go to church" to be a healthy, Christ honoring christian?
4) If they are wrong in stating such things then why are they wrong, or again, does it really matter?
5) Can a christian be just as vital and healthy in their walk with Christ by having no regular real life contact with other believers in a mutually submissive and mutually accountable "local church" lifestyle?
| 2016/3/14 11:19|
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I would love to answer these questions Awakened. The scriptures are pretty clear on these things. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect meeting together (fellowship) & the epistles (1 Corinthians and elsewhere) are clear the purpose, design, order of our meetings, etc. will answer better & line by line later when I have time.
| 2016/3/14 11:25|
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Thank you Jeff, please give me your thoughts. Some of the reasons I am asking because there is such renewed interest in the House Church movement and because there are vast numbers of wonderful believers who are not in any kind of regular fellowship at all. Many are in that in between, no mans land if you like, a place I have found myself in quite often over the years.
I think it would be a very profitable discussion to have here considering that the numbers of "nones" and "dones" are now numbering into the tens of millions in North America.
| 2016/3/14 14:16|
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The "Normal" Christian life is to follow the will of God, but if we know there are believers who love the Lord we should seek them out and strive to maintain unity with them in the bond of peace.
You may find yourself all alone at times, but always should be looking for fellowship. When Richard Wurmbrand got out of prison, he immediately disregarded the instructions of his captors and sought out fellowship of like-minded believers knowing he would be re-arrested and put in prison. Same with many other believers. Always, always, always their motivation was to find the true people of God and be with them. Richard Wurmbrand would convert his prison guards and then he would have fellowship. Prem Pradhan would do the same thing.
Joseph in Egypt is a great testimony of someone that God blessed in the "land of affliction" (the world). Joseph stayed true to the Lord, though his brethren rejected him lied about him and betrayed him.
God knows where you are and will lead you to find a brother if you are truly open and will be willing to jettison non-essentials for true fellowship.
Sometimes we must toil alone and wait on God but He can "expand your borders", cause you to forget your toil in a dry and desolate wilderness (the world) and make you fruitful in the land of affliction.
Don't forget these verses and the wonderful example of Joseph who dearly loved his brothers and chose to forgive them so that he could once again have fellowship with them. His forgiveness for them (releasing them from their debt), caused them to repent and turn again towards Joseph in brotherly love.
Gen 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
Gen 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Through Christ we can be very fruitful in this world (the land of our affliction). We are born-again for adversity and affliction and through it all, Christ will be the sweet savour that comes from a submitted (trusting) life to Him.
Look for disciples of Jesus.
"Many who should be disciples of Jesus today are still only disciples of...a reformer, a religious group or even an idea (that) has displaced their loyalty to Christ."
- Geoffrey T. Bull
If you find yourself without any fellowship, make some. Lead someone to the Lord.
| 2016/3/14 14:42|
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The complaints of the pagan society against the early Christians (that they were incestuous atheists and cannibals, etc.) sounds faintly akin to the complaints of big-box church professing Christians about home fellowship Christians today.
Andy Stanley on March 4, 2016: "When I hear adults say, 'Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,' I say, 'You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don’t care about your kids [or] anybody else’s kids' … If you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough middle schoolers and high schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it."
(Stanley would argue with Spurgeon, who on April 5, 1874 preached this: "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. A great dignitary not long ago informed us that there is great value in daily prayer in the parish church; he even asserted that, however few might attend, it was more acceptable than any other worship. I suppose that prayer in the parish church with nobody to join in it except the priest and the usher is far more effectual than the largest family gathering in the house at home. This was evidently this gentleman's idea, and I suppose the literature which he was best acquainted with was of such an order as, to have led him to draw that inference. Had he been acquainted with the Bible and such old fashioned books, he would have learned rather differently, and if some one should make him a present of a New Testament, it might perhaps suggest a few new thoughts to him. 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.")
We're called a lot of things by a lot of people. The comments range from the stumped ("You're doing what, again?!") to the snarky ("Oh, so you're a small group.") to the clueless ("I heard you had started your own church.") Lots of eye rolling and poorly veiled sarcasm.
What stands out to me is not that non-Christians would accuse us of outrageous things, but that people in the professing church would. Whether it is being "stinking selfish" or milder rebukes, or dismissive smirks from those who know so much better and have a vested interest in brick and mortar/bell and whistle Christianity -- the cannibalism is real.
| 2016/3/14 15:59||Profile|