Tuesday, May 22, 2007

are house churches biblical? part 1

I have always understood the following mantra: that the early church met in houses. So should we? But I was reading through Acts recently and I am beginning to question the mantra. I am wondering whether the choice to meet in houses might actually not be quite so simple. Hence my blog title. It’s slightly tongue in cheek, but I do want to work my way through the book of Acts, looking at where the early church did meet.

Acts 1:9 – outdoors-church, meeting outdoors in a public space. This included teaching and discussion. (Same again in Acts 2:14ff).

Acts 1:13 – Hired space. The disciples meet in an Upper Room. Probably the room used for the Last Supper. Perhaps part of a house. Perhaps a room to rent, like we have today in our local hotels.

Acts 2:46 – Religious buildings. They meet daily in the temple. We often think of early church as separate from Judaism, but that was certainly not the case in early Acts. They were still using a religious building, paid for already. They were still part of priestly (paid) leadership. So any move toward a house church was on the back of existing church buildings and existing paid leadership.

Next post in this series will be about Acts 3-5.

Posted by steve at 09:35 AM


  1. Thank you. Well said. I have tried to distance myself from many in the “house church movement” for several years. I have told others that “we are a church that meets in a home.” The difference is that the meeting place is a tool, somewhat incidental, and not the most important part. The “house” is not to become the normative. Being the church is the normative. Keep the thoughts coming.

    Comment by Craig — May 23, 2007 @ 7:19 am

  2. Looking forward to the next posts on this one. A house church is still exactly that, a “church”. Just changing the form will not necessarily affect the foundation. In moving to a house church setting it is entirely possible to simply import all the dysfunctions of the traditional forms (bless them) into the new structure. The important thing is not where we meet, but how. So, how should we meet?

    Comment by Simon — May 23, 2007 @ 11:54 am

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