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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Church Buildings vs House Churches

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Mattie
Member



Joined: 2004/7/23
Posts: 210


 Church Buildings vs House Churches

One of the great topics of debate in modern day Christendom is the issue of building church buildings vs meeting in small gatherings from house to house.

Those who defend the house church movement argue that for the first 300 years of church history there were no such thing as church buildings. It wasn't until Constantine became emperor in Rome that the emphasis of church architecture came into be. They say that in church buildings it takes away from authentic community life as well as the freedom for believers to excercise their spiritual gifts.

Those who defend meeting in church buildings argue that it doesn't matter the locality of the meeting. They say that the meeting and gathering of homes was something that took place because of the culture of the day. But because our culture is different, there is no need to gather in homes anymore. They give stronger emphasis to believers hearing the preaching of the Word, and to getting people connected into ministries that build up the church.

What are your thoughts on this issue? And what Scriptural grounds would you give to defend your thoughts? Would love to hear comments from you all on this popular topic.

 2007/11/30 12:56Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4582


 Re: Church Buildings vs House Churches

Hi Mattie...

Thanks for this thread! The topic of the "house church" movement has been discussed at length, but it is always interesting. I've been researching the history of Church customs for a few years now. I'm currently gathering this information while writing a book about the subject. Tentatively entitled "[i]Traditions of Men[/i]," this book will examine the current state of Church traditions and practices, and where they originated. These practices are then cross referenced with what we know from the Scriptures (and to an extent, history) about the early Church.

As you are well aware, many of our most cherished customs and practices in regards to Church history are based upon the masked transformation of Roman pagan traditions into Roman Catholicism. This includes the concept of a designated “sacred” Church sanctuary or cathedral. This work is extensive, because there are so many of our accepted practices that are unwittingly based upon the Roman pagan traditions. This includes everything from our terminology, our “places of worship,” our “holidays,” the “order” of our services – to the responsibilities of Church leadership.

It is difficult to give Scriptural grounds to either defend the practice of a designated “Church building” where congregants meet once, twice, thrice or multiple times at designated weekly meeting hours – because there are few to none in this regard. The early Church met “daily” at one another’s homes. The order of the meeting is rarely mentioned (except in regards to being conducted in “decency and in order”). Many believers incorrectly believe that the modern building and meeting is based upon the Old Covenant Temple or Tent, or the New Testament synagogue. A proper understanding of either will reflect how little these compare with the modern Church meeting place.

Anyway, I am quite interested in this topic. I currently attend a small, local, non-denominational congregation. The pastor is not even a “full-time” minister (in regards to official work hours and compensation). However, our meetings are reminiscent of those held around the world (opening with prayer, “praise and worship,” “offering” time, announcements, greeting one another, another song or two, sermon, “altar call” and special prayer, closing prayer/announcements). It would be interesting to have witnessed the meetings held by the early Church. I suspect that they might look a whole lot like the meetings of believers in closed countries where you could die for your faith.

Thanks for starting this thread!

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2007/11/30 13:31Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re: Church Buildings vs House Churches

I don't really think that it matters where you meet as believers, as long as you meet as believers. I think that both areans are scriptual

Mattie wrote:

Quote:

One of the great topics of debate in modern day Christendom is the issue of building church buildings vs meeting in small gatherings from house to house.

Those who defend the house church movement argue that for the first 300 years of church history there were no such thing as church buildings. It wasn't until Constantine became emperor in Rome that the emphasis of church architecture came into be. They say that in church buildings it takes away from authentic community life as well as the freedom for believers to excercise their spiritual gifts.



Scripture does not see it this way. Scripture places the same emphasis on both.

[u][b]Acts 2:40-47[/b][/u]

[b]A Vital Church Grows[/b]

[i]And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly[g] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
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.[/i]

reading over this, it is improtant to note that the Lord added to the church daily. He does not specifiy if it is House Church or in the Temple. Why, because people are getting saved. It does not matter where they are getting saved.


Quote:
Those who defend meeting in church buildings argue that it doesn't matter the locality of the meeting. They say that the meeting and gathering of homes was something that took place because of the culture of the day. But because our culture is different, there is no need to gather in homes anymore. They give stronger emphasis to believers hearing the preaching of the Word, and to getting people connected into ministries that build up the church.



Id there no need to gather in homes anymore? That is of personal opinion. I beieve that it is important for families to meet in dwelling places. The Church is our family, and it is always good to invite family over.


Quote:
What are your thoughts on this issue? And what Scriptural grounds would you give to defend your thoughts? Would love to hear comments from you all on this popular topic.



I tend to like House Church more then meeting in the temple for intamacy factor that comes with it. I find that "pouring your life" into someone is easier done in a smaller grou than a larger.

I tend to like meeting in the temple with the Church for the messages given to man from God. I love coming together to worship and praise the Lord. There is something special when you have firm believers together, praising the Name of the Lord together. I love listening to Godly men teach about the Lord.


I think that they both have their place in importance. I think that it is unwise to HAVE to choose one over the other. Not all people learn and grow the same. To truly have people grow in the Lord, they need to grow in the way that God leads them. Some people grow more in House Church, some int he Temple, some with both.


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Christiaan

 2007/11/30 13:39Profile
Mattie
Member



Joined: 2004/7/23
Posts: 210


 Re:

Excellent thought Miccah. I agree with you as well. What matters is that the Gospel is being preached and disciples are being made. It is up to God how to lead them for He is the Chief Shepherd. Awesome.

 2007/11/30 14:15Profile









 Re:

I don't have a lot of time to write but here are a few quick thoughts.

1) We have to diferientiate between meeting in a building and meeting in a building that is part of todays babylonian denominational system.

2) The clergy laity structure is probably the #1 reason true on-fire believers leave the organized Church. It is not New Testament Christianity and is a result of the Roman Catholic system as stated.

Just a couple of qick thoughts.

In Christ - Jim

 2007/11/30 14:24
PreachParsly
Member



Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164
Arkansas

 Re:

Quote:

2) The clergy laity structure is probably the #1 reason true on-fire believers leave the organized Church. It is not New Testament Christianity and is a result of the Roman Catholic system as stated.



As Jim pointed out, the dispute really isn't over the building itself, but the structure of the meeting/fellowship.


_________________
Josh Parsley

 2007/11/30 15:30Profile









 Re:

Quote:
babylonian denominational system



Jim... thats a mouthful! Say that five times fast.

I think what you said applies to much of "Christianity" in America... but it troubles me when you paint with such a broad brush. It's simply wrong an unjust to cast such a large all-encompassing blanket of every single church in the country... as well as all ministers.

That, my friend, is what is called judgementalism.

Krispy

 2007/11/30 15:42
Tears_of_joy
Member



Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554


 Re: Church Buildings vs House Churches

Mattie, I am in a process of reading Art Katz's book [b][url=http://www.benisrael.org/writings/online_books/true_fellowship/tf_contents.html]True Fellowship[/url][/b], you may find it great blessing and eye opening on this subject.

I don't think the real subject is "Church Buildings vs House Churches", this is just scratch of the surface. The real thing and problem is much deeper. And it's not so difficult to point the problem, but to show example of true fellowship intended by the Lord.

If we just point the problem, and don't give the real answer, [i]through the example[/i] our lives, better said - the life our local fellowship, we are just half the way, and will never achieve the final purpose. What we see more today is pointing out the errors (which are true errors and should be pointed), but without real example to show the truth and say (not necessary with words) "This is how it should be", you will left the people confused and in the half way!

Many say, we should move from the buildings where it stinks, to the houses, thinking that this will solve the problem by itself, but later is finding that in the houses also could stink if it is not builded on good apostolic foundation, on denying ourselves, on forsaking all and serving. Here is a quote from the book above:
A church with apostolic foundations is that body of people whose central impulse and principle of life, being and service is one thing only, namely, a radical and total jealousy for the glory of God.

However, I think gathering in a building once or twice a week, from start is making you to be short off some realities that cannot be experienced from once or twice meeting in a week, and sitting on a bench listening sermon. You are short of the realities of every day life as a Body, struggles, victories, [b]failings[/b], the real you, accountability, and again accountability for brothers and sisters, building the fellowship in the every day situation and life, building the character in a such environment. We are Body. We have need one each other. We are family, brothers and sister. We cannot accomplish the purposes of God alone, He made Body, and we must function as a Body - living organism. Not in any away can be accomplished something significant for the Kingdom of God, as a club of individuals, meeting few times a week, everyone for their own interests.

1Co 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.

Firstly (but not by value), we are commanded for our exhort one another, daily, for our good:

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another [b]daily[/b], while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb 10:24 And let us consider [b]one another to provoke unto love and to good works:[/b]
Heb 10:25 [b]Not forsaking[/b] the assembling of ourselves [b]together[/b], as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: [b]and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. [/b]

Secondly, God intended to work in this world, through His Body. If the legs doesn't function you cannot go anywhere, although you have arms.

W.Nee is summing this very well:

The vessel through which the Lord Jesus can reveal Himself in this generation is not the individual but the Body. " God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith " ( 12. 3), but alone in isolation man can never fulfil God's purpose. It requires a complete Body to attain to the stature of Christ and to display His glory. Oh that we might really see this!


Oh that we might really see this!

 2007/11/30 15:56Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re:

Quote:

Tears_of_joy wrote:
Not in any away can be accomplished something significant for the Kingdom of God, as a club of individuals, meeting few times a week, everyone for their own interests.

1Co 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.



I would like to point out that those of us who meet together in House Church do not meet as a "club". That is something for those who knit, have classic cars, and wear silly hats, j/k. But in all seriousness, House Church is just as vital as "traditional" church. To group House Church in with a club is inacuurate at best.

Every, and I strees every, House Church meeting that I have been in attendance to focuses on the Lord in some form or another. To imply that people are out for selfish interests who go to House Church (or clubs as you would), is also inaccurate.

House Church is not for everyone, as is neither is the Temple, but the Lord is. Let us find Him wherever He may be located.

In Christ


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Christiaan

 2007/11/30 16:20Profile
Tears_of_joy
Member



Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554


 Re:

Dear Miccah, I got confused by your post. I read it few times and also I read mine again. I think you have missed what I wanted to say. Please read again, and ask me if something is not clear in it, because from your response I can see that you are responding to something that is not said. I haven't said that house churches are clubs, I haven't generalized things.
The church which I am part of is gathering in a house, also.

I would be thankful if you read again the post and ask if something made confusion.

Thank you very much.
Kire

 2007/11/30 16:53Profile





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