Saturday, August 7, 2010

Concerns with House Church

Aaron Menikoff has voiced some of my concerns with the house church movement. 

My desire is that these house churches be, in fact, churches. Whether the pastor is seminary-educated is not the point. Is the "church" led by a man or men who meet the biblical qualifications of an elder? Is the Word of God clearly taught week in and week out? Are the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper regularly celebrated? Is there a careful accounting of who is "in" the church by virtue of repentance and faith and who is "outside" the church by virtue of unbelief.

If you do comment, I encourage you not to necessarily comment on the “led by a man” section.  If this is a discussion I would prefer this to be about the ecclessiology itself and not the gender debates.


  1. I wasn't going to comment on the 'by a man' part! :)

    In actuality, I wasn't. My bigger complaint here is why house churches are singled out? (I don't go, nor have ever gone to a house church, so I have no dog in the house-church fight)

    These are requirements for all churches and most of them - especially institutional ones - don't meet these qualifications. So why single out house churches?

  2. LOL. I also promise I wasn't thinking about you when I typed that. I just didn't want it to turn into a different conversation.

    Knowing the folks at 9 Marks I don't think they would be necessarily singling out house churches. I think they would say that institutional churches should be focusing on these things to legitimately be a church as well (that may sound a little harsh). But as you say these are "requirements" for every church.

    I "single it out" because I have been reading a fair amount about the house church/organic church movement and I thought Menikoff really articulated some of the questions that I have about this movement.

    I'm hearing all sorts of things like "where two or more are gathered in Jesus name" this constitutes a church. I'm not saying for sure that I disagree but it just doesn't seem quite right to me--and I think these questions that Menikoff raises are some of the reasons why I have red flags. But I'm still thinking out loud on this house church movement--not sure where I'll land.

  3. Dear Mike,
    I understand where you're coming from. Sometimes it seems that folks in the OC movement are "missing" several things. They seem to think that a shared meal replaces communion, and that simple fellowship will replace a solid understanding of the Word. Many of them have a real averseness to anyone who looks like a 'leader'. God knows, I love them, all but there seems to be an almost 'anti' kind of thing about some of them. They strain and struggle to NOT be what many of them used to be - the IC, and in so doing may actually miss Christ and the fullness thereof!

    I fellowship with them regularly over here in Oz, and yes, the small IC church I go to regularly certainly has its faults and failings, but I feel that many of the OC folks have placed themselves right out on the end of a limb, and unnecessarily so. My biggest concern for them is that some of them may in due time, become cultish, and what was once grace may very quickly become law.

    Austin Hellier



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