House Church - How does that work (and not work)

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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby bn2bnude » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:34 am

natman wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:So we have a church group as large as the Southern Baptist Convention. They get together, talk about issues and vote on what is right and what is wrong. That get's propagated through their schools to pastors, etc.

On the other hand, we have an organic church of maybe 20 people who are lead, not by a leader but by the Holy Spirit. If they do follow a "wrong doctrine" 20 people and likely some others, are affected.


Joel, I think I see your point about the overall influence of extra-Biblical (traditional) or heretical teachings in a large body church vs a small home-church. However, apart from the Roman Catholic Church with it's Papal Encyclicals and edicts, most other larger denominations are very slow to change because they are steered by a larger body of elders. At the same time, we have seen many sizable "church" bodies grow out of a tiny home church with questionable practices (think Jim Jones or the Moonies).

Yes, I agree. On the whole, even most of those with questionable practices remain relatively small compared to the rest of Christendom. With the largest church in Korea at nearly 1 Million people, the Moonies get a lot of press but really are not that big a percentage. They didn't start as a "house church" or "organic church". Estimates on membership is anywhere from 250K-1M members world wide. Christians claim well over 1B members in it various forms.

Jim Jones had, nearly 1000 followers. Yes it was deadly for them but the fact remains, from what history I remember hearing and seeing, Jim Jones started out in a major denomination that splintered, not a house church, certainly not an organic church.

batman wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:Look again at the makeup of the organic churches... Spirit led with Christ at the head.


I would say that probably every splinter denomination began by someone who THOUGHT they were being led by "The Spirit" away from their original mainstream body, if they even had one. Many times, when people cannot justify their beliefs Scripturally, they claim that the Holy Spirit led them to believe it, similar to someone saying "God told me to get a divorce.". I have no problem with "Spirit Led", as long as it is the RIGHT "Spirit" which is leading.



The key that people keep missing, at least with organic church is there is no official leadership. In fact, if you were to read T. Austin Sparks or Frank Viola's view of this, leadership is more discouraged than encouraged.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Petros » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:27 am

"I have no problem with "Spirit Led", as long as it is the RIGHT "Spirit" which is leading."

Which of course is the issue, whatever the size of the group, and whatever my erstwhile coleagues may se mainstream consensus guarantees nothing.

There have been some groups oof different sizes and background which have operated on the pinciple of having the deliberating body sit in prayer until EVERYBODY is in genuine agreement. This still is no ABSOLUTE guarantee, but given human nature if ten - fifty people agree not after persuasive debate but after prayer, odds are improved.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:16 pm

If I understand the concept of the word ekklesia, as a group called to assemble, then in that sense does not this website constitute and ekklesia, and therefore share a large number of attributes of a house church or organic church?

-- This is a religious based organization, hence "CHRISTIAN Naturist Village"
-- We are "convocated" That is to say that we are in some sense called together along the lines of being both motivated Christians and naturists

So in that sense we share attributes with the House and smaller organic churches. And like them we are also looked at suspiciously as having gone off into heterodox if not heretical beliefs/practices since we do not keep our clothes on like the majority do.

And here in lies possibly a key parallel, in that not having the common sort of human leadership, we rely on reading the scriptures and having searched them like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Indeed leaders among us are primarily servants (keeping the site running) and overseers (on the alert for violations of the rules of conduct and inappropriate content). We have found no condemnation of nudity and no general proscription of it in the scriptures. We reject the notion that scriptures designates social nudity as inherently and irretrievably sexual and akin to adultery. Indeed were our views known many churches would reject us as backslidden sinners if not heretics!

We however would argue that we are not like the "Homosexual churches" who arguably bend clear cut scriptures forbidding or condemning homosexual acts, but we merely point out that :
-- The wording of scripture does not explicitly condemn general social nudity.
-- The scriptures that are claimed to condemn nudity are not being examined in context, either scriptural or historical.
-- There are scriptures dealing with examples of nakedness that clearly do not condemn it as one would expect if nudity were in fact a sin.
-- In some scriptures, public nudity is commanded or obviously present in commanded actions, unless the scripture is twisted otherwise, (i.e. rampant eisegesis).

I offer the above with the thought that it may contain things beneficial to understanding and discussing the concepts related to "House" and related sorts of Churches.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby natman » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:30 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:And here in lies possibly a key parallel, in that not having the common sort of human leadership, we rely on reading the scriptures and having searched them like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Indeed leaders among us are primarily servants (keeping the site running) and overseers (on the alert for violations of the rules of conduct and inappropriate content).


I believe that acting as the Bereans did, reading and searching Scripture, along with guidance from the "HOLY" Spirit, is the KEY to preventing heresy from creeping into small groups.

Bare_Truth wrote:We however would argue that we are not like the "Homosexual churches" who arguably bend clear cut scriptures forbidding or condemning homosexual acts,...


I agree, because we find no need to "bend" Scripture in order to defend the practice of chaste naturism.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Ramblinman » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:49 pm

natman wrote:...I agree, because we find no need to "bend" Scripture in order to defend the practice of chaste naturism.


Indeed! Those who argue for prudishness have to defend their departure from Christian culture as it was during the early centuries of the Church when it comes to attitudes about chaste nudity in work, recreation and in the ritual of baptism.

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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby jochanaan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:53 am

The dangers of a small, independent body are much lessened if the leadership is nonexistent or seen as servants, and if the group is part of a network. Such is the Denver study. We have no "leaders" as such, and we keep in touch with other groups and individual Christians. In fact, my home church, the Seventh Day Baptists, function as a network not a hierarchy, like most Baptist groups and (I suppose) the Congregational UCC.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Petros » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:55 am

One of the best sermons I ever heard - and some of the worst attacks on hymns I ever heard - were in a church nerarby that might as well have been a house church. They had a building, they had an organization, but the group was all the grandkids of the grandkids of a few original settlerrs - everybody related. I would have joined in just for that preaching, but it would be like being the only Senegalese guy in an Eskimo village.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby jjsledge » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:48 am

Okay I've waited long enough. I am the one who PM'd to bn2bnude organic/simple/house/new testament ecclesia (church). Words that attempt to describe an assembly that has no elected/hired/drafted/self appointed leadership. Many house churches are simply traditional churches only on a smaller scale (honey, I shrunk the church).

organic- a living breathing expression of Christ

simple- no hierarchy

house- we meet in houses instead of renting or building a place to meet

new testament- we attempt to meet as we feel the New Testament groups met. "House to house everyone sharing as the Spirit leads.

I have been meeting with a group that follows this "system" for about a year. No one wants to be the leader/pastor/minister even though at least one in the group has been a pastor. The group was already meeting before I joined and were attempting to 'read the books and follow the outlines' (do church). They called for a church planter couple to come and teach what they had learned about how meetings should go. They were here for about 3 months, taught, then left. They do not expect to contact us for about 1-2 years to see how things are going. Our group is associated with other groups in other states and at least one other country through the church planting teams. We had a gathering this last summer in Tennessee where people from all the groups came as they were able and fellow shipped for a long week-end. It was the only time I have ever been in a group of "strangers" that felt like family. It was also the only time I have been in such a large group that appeared to be in one accord and focusing on Jesus. Yes, there were teaching meetings, but they were more of "this is what we have found that works" as opposed to "do it this way".

Church is not an "it" , but a "we".
You can't 'do' something you are supposed to 'be'.

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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Ramblinman » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:49 am

The Children of Israel wandered in the Wilderness for 40 years without a fixed spot and actually the Ark of the Covenant didn't get a permanent spot for quite a while after that.
It was simply: "the cloud by day, the fire by night" that's where home was.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is
, there is the one true Church, apostolic and universal, whose holy faith let us now declare...
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:19 pm

jjsledge wrote:...... They called for a church planter couple to come and teach what they had learned about how meetings should go. They were here for about 3 months, taught, then left. They do not expect to contact us for about 1-2 years to see how things are going. ....
This sounds like a wise decision by the group as they started a venture that was new to them. However it begs a question on its own.

It would appear that this group was seeking a more appropriate (at least to them) compliance with the admonition "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together... " (Heb 10:25). However then how does a group find an appropriate "church planter couple" who can provide the proper "mechanics" of making such a group functional, effective and stable. Obviously most would not want to find that they had brought in, say a JW, Moonie, Mormon or SDA church planting team, (if those groups offered such a thing) if the group was more "main line" in orientation. It is pretty obvious that if the team was going to teach for 3 months and check back in 1 to 2 years, that the team would be taking a position much like the Apolstle Paul did. Such a team actually then represents a different form of hierarchy at least in a doctrinal sense.

How then does such a formative group find a suitable "planting advisor(s)" who can be trusted to not bring in some heterodox "ism". If I may use a gardening analogy one would want a genuine "heirloom seed" rather than some strange new "hybrid seed" from an unfamiliar seed company. I may be a bit picky here but I am trying to follow the maxim "Well begun is half done". I cannot imagine that among all who might claim to be church planters that there are not some wolves in sheep's clothing out there.

Possibly an answer lies in:
jjsledge wrote:.....We had a gathering this last summer in Tennessee where people from all the groups came as they were able and fellow shipped for a long week-end.
A small group in its formative stages can be a fragile thing, and if such a convocation of groups can attest to the validity of "various church planter teams" then more house churches could get off to a good start.

Ok, I will now proclaim myo ignorance about how what looks to me to be a good idea, all works, and where the pitfalls lie, but then, that is why I am asking. I am a cautious sort, and unlike the web where I can lurk for a while and read the "about pages" I have not seen how this might be done. An authoritative book well reviewed by those who have done it, advising on the specifics of how to go about it, including how to go about linking up with a larger fellowship, might be a good idea. Consider if you will an analogy: If a couple were looking for pre-marriage counseling and wanted to get good counselling, how would they go about getting a good counselor and not some jerk who would give bad advice?
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby bn2bnude » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:34 pm

jjsledge wrote:Okay I've waited long enough. I am the one who PM'd to bn2bnude organic/simple/house/new testament ecclesia (church). Words that attempt to describe an assembly that has no elected/hired/drafted/self appointed leadership. Many house churches are simply traditional churches only on a smaller scale (honey, I shrunk the church).


Thanks Jerry... It was actually Bare_Truth that you PM'd.

Thanks for jumping in with a first person explaination.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby bn2bnude » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:43 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:Possibly an answer lies in:
jjsledge wrote:.....We had a gathering this last summer in Tennessee where people from all the groups came as they were able and fellow shipped for a long week-end.
A small group in its formative stages can be a fragile thing, and if such a convocation of groups can attest to the validity of "various church planter teams" then more house churches could get off to a good start.

Ok, I will now proclaim myo ignorance about how what looks to me to be a good idea, all works, and where the pitfalls lie, but then, that is why I am asking. I am a cautious sort, and unlike the web where I can lurk for a while and read the "about pages" I have not seen how this might be done. An authoritative book well reviewed by those who have done it, advising on the specifics of how to go about it, including how to go about linking up with a larger fellowship, might be a good idea. Consider if you will an analogy: If a couple were looking for pre-marriage counseling and wanted to get good counselling, how would they go about getting a good counselor and not some jerk who would give bad advice?


I might suggest you are overthinking things. In fact, I'm not sure that trying to think this through is necessarily a smart way to go. Trying to think things through when you look at, say, Isaac & Jacob, even Jesus' linage doesn't follow conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom at the time, Esau would have been the one blessed but God saw to it that Jacob was the one. Judah should not have been the one with the kingly line (neither would Benjamin). He had several non-Jewish women as matriarchs, Judah's heir was the daughter that his sons should have bore but he didn't follow the proper path. Jesus was born out of wedlock.

God says his ways are not our ways....

I'm not trying to suggest you go to extremes but...
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1 NLT)



If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:34 am

bn2bnude wrote:....... I might suggest you are overthinking things.
Well, it would not be the first time.

------------------------------

bn2bnude wrote: In fact, I'm not sure that trying to think this through is necessarily a smart way to go. Trying to think things through when you look at, say, Isaac & Jacob, even Jesus' linage doesn't follow conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom at the time, Esau would have been the one blessed but God saw to it that Jacob was the one.
Ok, this far I followed you......


bn2bnude wrote:...... Judah should not have been the one with the kingly line .....
and here I presume you are referring to Reuben as the first born who lost his birthright over the issue of having sex with Jacob's concubine Bilhah

But you lost me with:
bn2bnude wrote:.....(neither would Benjamin).
How does Benjamin fit in here???

bn2bnude wrote:....He had several non-Jewish women as matriarchs
do you intend God to be the antecedent of "He"?


bn2bnude wrote:....Judah's heir was the daughter that his sons should have bore but he didn't follow the proper path ......
are you referring to Tamar the wife of er, who should have been a wife to Onan and subsequently the wife of Shelah but ended up bearing Zarah and Pherz by Judah? her father-in-law?

bn2bnude wrote:....Jesus was born out of wedlock
Technically do we know that? The sequence we have in Matthew 1:18-25 is :
-- Mary is found to be pregnant (verse 18)
-- Joseph is going to put her away (verse 19)
-- an Angel appears to Joseph in a dream to tell Joseph to marry her(verse 20)
-- Joseph does as the Angel said and marries Mary (verse 24)
-- Joseph does not have sex with Mary until after the birth of Jesus (verse 25)

So it appears that Mary was married to Joseph when Jesus was born, hence Jesus was not "born out of wedlock !" although he was conceived before the marriage,


bn2bnude wrote:..I'm not trying to suggest you go to extremes but...
But what? I don't follow what you are getting at.

Quoted for convenience
Matthew 1:
18 ¶Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby bn2bnude » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:04 am

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:...... Judah should not have been the one with the kingly line .....
and here I presume you are referring to Reuben as the first born who lost his birthright over the issue of having sex with Jacob's concubine Bilhah

But you lost me with:
bn2bnude wrote:.....(neither would Benjamin).
How does Benjamin fit in here???

Saul was a Benjaminite...

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:....He had several non-Jewish women as matriarchs
do you intend God to be the antecedent of "He"?

He = Jesus... Sorry.


Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:....Judah's heir was the daughter that his sons should have bore but he didn't follow the proper path ......
are you referring to Tamar the wife of er, who should have been a wife to Onan and subsequently the wife of Shelah but ended up bearing Zarah and Pherz by Judah? her father-in-law?

yes


Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:..I'm not trying to suggest you go to extremes but...
But what? I don't follow what you are getting at.

I'm not suggesting you turn off your brain and rely entirely on emotion but on the other hand, we get so wrapped around "I've GOT to have exactly the right doctrine or else" that we turn off the Holy Spirit.
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Re: House Church - How does that work (and not work)

Postby jjsledge » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:05 am

Those who judge the motives of othere are simply revealing what's in their own hearts. Frank Viola "Revise Us Again" p.89
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