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  • FAQ3 - What about the dangers of small groups?
    dangers of driving are thereby increased all the more Get into an impact in one of these examples and it is very bad news indeed However other newer and more expensive models have all manner of safety features built into them seat belts anti skid brakes computer controlled traction devices multiple airbags crumple zones and even automatic deceleration override when too close to the vehicle in front and various other such innovations I know what sort of car I would choose to drive if I could afford it a nice big expensive and high mass new one And it seems to me that the main danger inherent in being part of a church that is the ecclesiological equivalent of an impending car wreck is primarily that of deception and or manipulation and control brought about by any form of authoritarianism and invalid incursions by others into believer s private lives It is in fact the primary danger of too much power residing amongst too few people or even worse with just one person that is the Priest Pastor Minister or Senior Elder Or whatever you choose to choose to call him So in scripture we see appropriate safety features built in accordingly no church hierarchy of any kind plurality of leadership consensual decision making by the whole church and the complete independence and autonomy of each church before the Lord thus preventing multiple churches being controlled by an hierarchy over them or to put it another way thus preventing the rise of any form of denominationalism It s perfect And of course what it really boils down to is that the danger is always the emergence of what I call big cheeses people who end up over lots of others thereby almost inevitably succumbing to the very corruption of arrogance and pride which the biblical structure of churches is meant to protect everyone from In summing up then I would want say that any group of believers who comprise a small church that meets in homes is vulnerable to such dangers as authoritarian leadership insularity spiritual navel gazing exclusivism and a whole host of other pretty rotten things too But then a group of believers who comprise a large church that meets in a public building are open to precisely the same dangers and church history bears eloquent testimony to the simple fact that it is not exactly rare for such to occur It is simply the case that whichever way you do church you are open to similar dangers So why not just do what scripture teaches Why not just be a part of a smaller church that meets in someone s home I must say that I personally feel much happier confident and secure facing the difficulties and dangers that come as a result of doing what the Lord wants rather than facing those which precisely result from in any way going against what He has revealed and sanctioned in His Word Give me a ride in a

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_three.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ4 - Is church structure all that matters?
    to just become more alive in Jesus Think of a church as being a glove into which the Lord wants to put His hand in order that He might be able to move through it That and that alone is what it s all about However a glove without the hand in it is pretty useless and that s what a spiritually dead biblical church would be like As I have said elsewhere I have been in churches which were biblically based in every way in so far as their structure and practice was concerned yet which were spiritually quite deathly and oppressive because of wrong attitudes and lack of love Yet imagine equally the Lord trying to get His hand in a glove that s completely the wrong shape Too many fingers perhaps No thumb maybe He ll always do His best of course and move through it to whatever extent He can We are not in any way implying that the Lord doesn t use or bless unbiblical churches But how much better to just be the right shape But perhaps even more accurately we could imagine a spiritually dead biblical church to be like a glove made from metal It s the right shape that is biblical in setup and format and the hand is inside that is those who comprise it are true believers and the Lord is with them But because the glove has such little give in it it s pretty useless for the purpose for which it is supposed to exist that is in order for the hand to move through it Indeed a hand could arguable do somewhat more through a compliant glove which was the wrong shape for it to fit in properly than it could through a correctly shaped but

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_four.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ5 - How does church growth work?
    they came Yet the interdependence born of continuing shared relationships and friendships means that the two churches will also in some regards move as one The city wide church as some term it For more on this see my article The City Wide Church Problem found in the articles section on this website However as more and more churches are thus spawned and please God may such be the case then it eventually becomes more and more impractical for those in them to all meet together in each others houses for the corporate midweek activities such as Bible study and prayer At this point the churches involved would have to decide whether to carry on all together in such things and hire a larger building for them or whether to break down into two or three smaller clumps of churches doing things together whilst remaining in peoples houses The key is each church going with its own consensus in relation to other churches as to which route they wish to take It really is wide open But what must be emphasized here and I really do mean emphasized is that each of these churches remain autonomous and have their own leadership recognized by each respective church being therefore quite at liberty to decide things for themselves and be free of unwarranted interference from the outside In other words there is neither hierarchy within individual churches eldership as we have shown elsewhere is functional and not positional and not in any way in authority over the church nor over the churches corporately Further men with gifts and callings apostolic workers pastor teachers evangelists etc that can be of benefit more widely than merely to the church they are personally part of will also be recognized by other churches and can be utilized by being invited to work among them Such men will obviously play a part as the Lord leads in facilitating multiple churches working together to do things which individual churches could not do on their own But again what must be clearly held in mind at all times is that such men do not have authority over the churches but merely function as servants to and facilitators of any churches and believers who consider they have something to offer and who therefore invite them in Absolutely fundamental to any biblical understanding of what churches ought to be like and how leadership functions within them both individually and corporately is that it is this approach alone if practiced faithfully and carefully which prevents both the emergence of just another denomination even a house church one and of hierarchically minded leaders trying to incorporate such churches into their own little kingdoms over which they want to lord it and have authority And of course the beauty is of this biblically prescribed way of doing things is that even if some churches do eventually decide to go down the wrong road and create an hierarchy and have some big leader at the

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_five.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ6 - Do apostles have authority over churches?
    of the church of which he is a part To whom are travelling ministries including apostles accountable Answer When at home they are accountable to those in the church they are part of and when away they are accountable to those in whichever church they are helping out at any one time In each case the person concerned whether elder or non elder apostle prophet or whatever is to be held accountable and assessed and tested by the rest of the church regarding both their lives and what they teach or advise purely on the basis of consistency with scripture No one whether an elder or someone in trans local service has authority within themselves over any church either of which they are a part or temporarily helping out All anyone can do is to simply appeal to scripture in order to establish whatever it is they say or do and then persuade others accordingly whilst being nevertheless willing to submit to the general consensus of the church should they find themselves unable to do so And of course it is no different for those who function in an apostolic role whether to single or multiple churches The principle remains exactly the same and they too must consider themselves accountable to whichever church they are a part of and helping at any one time Although they will be obviously be part of a church back home somewhere Apostles functioned in two ways Those like Paul travelled constantly and so were not usually part of a church other than the one they were bringing into being and nurturing at any one time And the thing we note about them is that whether Paul Timothy Titus Barnabus etc they were all single men After all a married man can t travel much without neglecting his family and of course that would immediately disqualify him from any kind of church leadership anyhow Therefore the constantly travelling Paul type apostles were always in permanent teams and were therefore like small travelling little churches hence providing accountability one to another The other type of apostle however is the Peter type and of course they are family men Hence we see of Peter that he only travelled a bit and taking his wife with him was a matter of apostolic right and was an elder in the church he was permanently part of at home Beware of roaming believers who think themselves called to travelling ministry but who aren t actually part of a permanent team or a church back where they live Further as with both elders and non elders such men can say absolutely nothing by way of absolute authoritative command but must simply seek to persuade their listeners on the basis that whatever they are saying suggesting or teaching is consistent with scripture and thereby worthy of acceptance However should they advise a course of action which brings forth no consensus from that church and leaves those in it un persuaded then the

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_six.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ7 - Why do churches have to meet in peoples houses?
    eating the love feast together But there is still a massive problem to be faced and it is simply this A first generation biblical church may well be able to come together and meet in such a way without any problem but what of such a situation once numerical growth occurs and other churches need to come into being from the original church I am assuming that being biblically based this imagined church does indeed want to grow numerically as the Lord enables and not just remain with the same personnel its whole life So do you see the problem That church can t just keep getting numerically bigger even though larger numbers can easily be accommodated by virtue of the fact of it meeting in a public building because it could then no longer function in the way the New Testament teaches that it should Another church therefore needs to come into existence from it But here is the point Where will the new church meet then Do you see the problem Now there may of course be an abundant supply of Christian coffee houses and bookshops around with nice lounge and kitchen areas and so I guess new churches could just go and hire them out but I nevertheless think an important question remains and it is this Why not just meet in each others houses I mean what is the problem with simply doing that It is after all what every church in scripture did Every time individual churches are located in the New Testament it is always and without fail in someone s home So why oh why would we want to be different Why be a church that is biblically based in every other respect having bought into the notion that we should do things just like they did back then and then break ranks with them over this Could it possibly be though I surely hope it is not the case that behind this lies the unspoken concern that opening our homes to each other is a bit too inconvenient Too close for comfort even The apostles of Jesus taught believers to open their homes to each other and to actually have their church gatherings there After all can I be truly known by others as I should be if my home life isn t wide open to those who I am in regular ongoing fellowship with Can people know me properly truly and deeply if they don t regularly see my home and family life and have a share in it Are we really to believe that meeting in homes was a purely incidental aspect of the blueprint for church life we find in scripture Or is it as significant and important as the other aspects such as open participatory gatherings having the Lord s Supper as a full meal and practicing biblical leadership and consensual church government I put it to you that the burden of proof very much lies with those

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_seven.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ8 - Why are there so many nutcases in the housechurch movement?
    from where I live that are the result of a split in the Mormon Church It could probably only happen in England too Again just like the Catholic Church this movement isn t even a Christian one yet they are nevertheless doing what can only be termed house church And so the point is clear you can have so called house churches which aren t even genuinely Christian let alone biblical in their practice So don t be surprised when you come across genuine Christian house churches but which have little in common with the New Testament churches when it comes to church practice Indeed they are actually merely another variation on the traditional institutional churches only meeting in people s homes rather than in public or religious buildings Now I don t mean to imply by this that everyone in what I would call unbiblical house churches are nutcases any more than I would suggest that everyone in traditional institutional churches are but one can at least see the potential for some very definite nutcase type problems emerging on the house church scene And if you further consider that those in house churches are by definition outside of the system then there is always an increased propensity for those on the lunatic fringe of discipleship to gravitate in that particular direction In other words whereas there are believers like myself who are outside the system because of properly thought out and carefully implemented scriptural conviction there are also those who are outside the system and therefore often found in house churches who are outside the system precisely because they are nutcases and want to be different and radical for it s own sake If the history of Christian churches had been that of remaining meeting in homes then these guys would I am sure be busily pioneering traditional institutional church You see they aren t actually interested in being biblical at all they just want to be different And often they just want to be different so as to increase their chances of being big fish in small ponds However I am delighted to testify that such people are a minority in what is going on and that those who are more biblically responsible in what they are doing are usually well able to see them coming and can then try to help them come to maturity and a more balanced Christian life If nothing else at least the vulnerable can be protected from them The very last thing we need in this business of the Lord restoring biblical church practice to his people are sundry would be and wannabe self styled prophets apostles and visionaries who are really just nutcases looking for a platform they couldn t possibly get anywhere else There is another problem that needs to be addressed here too and it s the fact that the only thing worse than a charismaniac is a charismaniac in a house church You know the type they have

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_eight.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ9 - How can house churches compete with traditional churches?
    shores of modern day California Oregon and Washington the cowboys as they became affectionately and universally known opened up new territories in which people could build homes and farms and work and live and play and love and die But what was it actually like for them in the early days What did they initially have to show for their labors and dreams Well compared to the more stable established and comfortable American society back east not very much at all In fact instability insecurity intense discomfort and even danger were their constant fare Or at least it was in the beginning And just imagine what it would have been like when folks from back east New York let s say visited what is now California in the early days of our Wild West pioneers In contrast to what they were used to at home what might they have thought What no flush toilets Are you telling me I have to shower in cold water outside under the stars How do I get a cab Where can I catch a good show How are the Oysters and Tournedos Rossini this season And of course the problem is that they ve come to take a look far too soon They ve come in the early phase of the pioneering process yet whilst expecting the end result of the process to already be in evidence A whole load of stuff that will be in place eventually just isn t in place in the early phases I can to my great personal relief vouch for the efficacy of modern day plumbing throughout the American Pacific coast And it s the same with this house church stuff We re at the beginning of something and therefore in the same position as those early pioneers

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_nine.htm (2016-05-02)
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  • FAQ10 - What is rapid church planting all about?
    must again remind ourselves that even the early church didn t see continuous and ongoing mass conversions as its normative experience and we must be clear too that only what the Lord Himself does through His people as opposed to man made techniques and practices is of eternal value Such moves of God s Spirit are based purely on His Sovereign will and whereas we must be faithful in evangelism though obviously according to personal gifting we must never get hung up about results They are purely the Lord s department However neither should we do anything to call such revival situations into question We just need to realize that you can t be part of or co operate with something the Lord isn t actually doing After all His Sovereignty means that you can t make Him do anything at all and we should never complain or feel hard done by just because He isn t doing something we would like Him to The amazing thing about this rapid church planting stuff though is the complete disparity between those who go on and on about it and about church growth and planting new churches and seeing converts all the time and what we actually read in scripture After all we have in the New Testament quite a few letters written to various churches which together make up really everything we need to know pertaining to God s will for us And what stands out whether you read the letters of James or Paul or Peter or John or anyone else for that matter isn t the way they in which they challenge their readers in the churches to evangelism and church planting and multiplication but rather the simple fact that they actually deliver no such challenges at all The cry that constantly goes out to churches in such circles today is What are you doing about church planting What s your evangelistic strategy for next year How many new churches are you exercising faith for in the next 5 years And of course what stands out in such sharp relief to this is not merely that the writers of the inspired letters to churches didn t say very much along such lines it s that they say absolutely nothing along such lines at all If Paul or Peter or James or John et al were concerned about whether or not the churches they planted and helped were growing numerically and multiplying or that the believers who comprised them ought be have been greatly and corporately concerned with evangelistic schemes and strategies and the like then all we can say is that they sure had a strange way of showing it What stands out is rather their complete lack of concern over such issues concentrating instead on the importance of individual believers growing in the Lord and leading holy lives We are of course exhorted to be ready to give a defense for the hope we have but this is

    Original URL path: http://www.house-church.org/faq_ten.htm (2016-05-02)
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