The House Church Movement

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by CF1, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. CF1

    CF1
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    Regarding the "House Church" movement, a term used to describe an independent group of Christians who gather in a home,

    Please begin by reading what appears may be a decent starting point for a definition of a House Church on Wikipedia:
    Wikipedia definition of a House Church

    Here are some reviews of books on the subject from different authors:

    Amazon.com Reviews of the Book "The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today's Church"

    Amazon.com Reviews of the Book "Finding Organic Church: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities"

    1. What can we in Baptist churches learn from this movement? Why do people leave traditional churches? How can regular Baptist churches function naturally in a way that meets the needs felt by those starting House Churches?

    2. What are concern areas? An apparent answer for a concern is incorrect doctrine/theory, and practice/conduct, all sorts of potential heresy, similarities in concerns to the emergent church movement, etc. What are other concerns?

    Hopefully this frames out two sets of questions that can be beneficial for our mutual learning on this topic.
     
    #1 CF1, Dec 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2009
  2. Bob Alkire

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    This isn't a new movement, or at least the way I look at it, it isn't. Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California was built from folks having home meeting during the week. As far as I know they still are having home meeting. Ray Stedman was their pastor for 40 years are so.

    Looks like to me, a good way for a church to grow. Everyone will find out what their gifts are that has been given to them and how to use them.

    More question are ask and more answers heard in small groups when they interact. Get to see what I call real worship, obedient to God. Most of us learn better in small groups.

    In so many churches so much is entertainment, not that the pastor or leaders aren't trying to do things God's way, but they are using to much Madison Ave. and not the Bible. Where folks spend 2 to 4 hours a week in groups studying God's Word, for His glory, they will grow. This is coming for a person, that back in the 60's was 100% against that movement. I said and believed churches grew out of strong SS, TU, much more that church service. I believe it was W.A. Criswell who causes great growth at First Baptist Dallas by going back to SS and TU.

    Well to day most SS are weak and most TU are a memory and the home church and home study are doing well. By the way isn't that the way it started?
     
  3. Bob Alkire

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    Also wish to add, when I was in school, it was said by many of our professors that the only people who like large churches are preachers ( pastor and staff).

    I know all of your churches will be different, but the big thing I get here in my town (large amount of retired folks) I don't want to get back in that rat race of church, do, do ,do, music, music, music, give, give, give. It seem all was done to support a pastor and staff or that is what they say.

    Many of them want to learn the Word, learn doctrine. One family told me he gets his family and two others and they drive over to Orlando from time to time to hear R. C. Sproul. They are not Calvinistic at all but enjoy much of his teaching on church history.

    The home church deal would meet folks like the above need to learn, share and ask questions when a question arises. A good place to learn.
     
  4. Deacon

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    Xenos Christian Fellowship [LINK] in Columbus, Ohio provides an excellect example of a way the house church can effectively operate.

    What can we learn? Personal contact often is the best way to witness.


    What are the concerns? Without supervision, inexperence and meager education among the leadership can lead to errant teachings (but this can be seen in larger churches today too).

    Rob
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Interesting that even the big churches (like Saddleback where I've been the past 8 days) have HUGE emphasis on "small groups" that meet in a home. The real discipleship, answering questions, even evangelism (invite a friend) goes on THERE, not in the 5000 attending each big service. The small group leader IS the "pastor" to these people, a teaching elder who visits in their home, sees them in hospital, etc. The leaders report and meet with paid staff of the church.

    My son has 150+ small groups for high school (each has 10-12 teens) and thinks it is by far the best tool of the church.

    The Biggest + we've found in the emphasis on "relationship" rather than "program" in the house church.
     
  6. Bob Alkire

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    So true. I went for about 4 or 5 years believing how bad Peninsula Bible Church was with their home meeting deal and telling others how bad it was. I didn't know what I was talking about. Had a chance while in Dallas, Texas to meet a person who new Ray Stedman from schools days at DTS. He and I went out to Palo Alto and saw what was going on. I knew nothing good came from west of the Mississippi River and we all knew how bad California is. Found out what my wife had been saying for sometime, she didn't marry me for my brains, found out she was right.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    This is to vague. Some churches begin in a home and move on to a more traditional church as growth occurs. This is vastly different from the house church movement. The movement intends to stay in a house and criticizes anything traditional as being heretical.

    You need to take a look here http://www.hccentral.com/index.html



    In many cases it is a form of rebellion. People do not want the accountability of biblical preaching and standards so the house church gives them a more social setting without many of the scriptural standards. In many cases the house church is a little social club that may or may not work to be active in the community.


    While the Emergent church movement (to be distinguished from the emerging church movement) is quite heretical it need not be associated with the house church movement. Some house churches may be emergent others may not. The house church movement is born out of rebellion against biblical preaching, church authority, and makes false claims of commands from scripture that churches are to only be held in homes.
     
  8. David Michael Harris

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    I am confused by todays church to be honest. I would not know where to start to comment.
     
  9. exscentric

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    Much of the negative against house churches is spewed by those that see the bucks fleeing their coffers to others.

    Absurd statement? Yep, but so are many directed at house churches. The broad brushes are already in use above.
     
  10. Alive in Christ

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    I was part of a house church back in the late 80's and it was one of the best church experiences I've ever had.

    Very very biblical.
     
  11. David Michael Harris

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    That's what I thought.

    But found it very superficial.
     
  12. Alive in Christ

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    I'm sorry yours turned out to be that way.

    Mine sure wasnt. It was anything but superficial. I found it to be a very rich and rewarding experience.

    I learned a lot. I grew a lot.
     
  13. annsni

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    This is exactly how we've done it here. Additionally, we use in many of our small groups the "pulpit curriculum" where the discussion is centered around the message on Sunday - how do we apply it, do we have any further insight or questions - that sort of thing. It's been wonderful and such a blessing in a larger church so that you can get to know people more intimately.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    Maybe we should just become Plymouth Brethren. Then we could even avoid the huge salaries paid out.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Berean

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    I personally have not been a member of a small group (house church) but have been exposed to one through osmosis, my son is a member of one and from what I have observed is that it is very New Testament (Acts 2). What I would caution is be sure the Elder or leader is doctrinally sound. In small groups a lot of times a dynamic person will surface as a leader merely on their dynamic personality.
     
  16. MrJim

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  17. Victorious

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    The Problem

    I think house churches are fine if they follow biblical guidelines, but the one issue I have with them is that those who attend, many times claim that their brothers and sisters in Christ who do attend a local church are in the wrong. Accusations of "apostasy" are hurled at church attendees and the Body of Christ is divided.

    On this issue, let every man be accountable to God alone.
     
  18. Marcia

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    I agree - the ones I've known about have been divisive, thinking themselves superior and more spiritual to those who go to regular churches. What I am talking about is not the same thing as starting a church by meeting in homes. These are people who think meeting in homes is more biblical.

    Also, one needs to be careful of the movement started by the Family Radio guy, Harold Camping, who a few years ago said the church age had ended and everyone needs to meet in homes. He is very critical of the church (he also predicted that Jesus would return in 1994). His followers are out there and they meet in homes.
     
  19. exscentric

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    "These are people who think meeting in homes is more biblical."

    So does the Bible but don't let the facts bother you :laugh: I know what you mean, but million dollar plants are not really all that "biblical" either.

    Your warning is quite appropriate, though there are some good ones around.
     
  20. Allan

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    Actaully, this kind of statement is often stated by those who lack little to no understanding of church history. I'm not stating this is you since it appears you are jesting but I am only making an observation.

    The first church (Jews) 'not only' was in homes but also met in the Jewish sysagogues as stated in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:46 states that they met as whole in the temple and also in smaller groups. Chapter 5 speaks to account of the Church giving and specifically about Ananias and Sapphira but what many miss is that this all took place "IN" Solomans Porch (vs 12) which is in the Temple as spoken of in Acts 3 with the healing of the Lame man at Solomans porch as Peter went to Temple at the hour of Prayer. Also in 5:42 it states they (the Apostles) ceased not to teach and preach Christ in the Temple and in every house, refering to the meeting places of the believers. Chapter 6 speaks of Stephen doing miracles and wonders and preaching in the synagogue where some within the synagogue began to try to dispute with him.. and you know the rest of his story. I can go on and on with other places where Peter and Paul were with the church in synagogues, which was nothing more than a large gathering place most likely once a week while house teaching/preaching was done daily in homes. It was during this time the church not only grew due to the initial general allowance of it to meet openly in various places but, due to its success the church at large (both for the Jews AND the gentiles) then became more and more pursecuted, tried to be run out, and then hunted down and killed everywhere.

    The church then became so hunted they no longer could meet in large open places but HAD to meet in homes and secret places, not because it was more biblical but out of necessity. As time passed, with the persecution fading, they DID move 'back' to larger accommodations.
     
    #20 Allan, Dec 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2009

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