@SpiritfilledBerean After reading a few articles and pondering it a bit, I think it really just depends on the house Church. If a house Church provides sound teaching and is rooted in a desire to serve God’s Kingdom rather than anti-authoritarianism, anti-intellectualism or dissatisfaction, I think it could be a Biblical expression of fellowship. Choosing whether or not to join a house Church would, like when considering any Church, require prayer and discernment.
- strong on discipleship / life on life
- many opportunities to lead / grow
- relationship focused and simple
- quality of teaching / worship generally lower
- concerns over safety
- organic nature bypasses some benefits of organizational structure / oversight
Sometimes, though, spiritual democracy can veer into anti-intellectualism. If God speaks directly to all of us, then maybe we don’t need any teachers at all. We don’t need to depend on anyone else, so we don’t need to study, either. Further education, such as seminary, supposedly becomes more of a hindrance than a help. Unfortunately, some house churches appeal to Christians who hold these views, too.
Based on the AP report, it’s hard to distinguish between house churches and the small groups so many evangelicals attend weekly.
At their best, house churches recall the dynamic fellowship of the early church, exemplified in Acts 2:42-27. Let us not forget, then, that Luke’s beautiful description begins with believers devoting themselves to the apostles’ authoritative teaching.
In conclusion, there is nothing unbiblical about Christians gathering together regularly in houses, or large buildings, or any other appropriate venue. The Bible does not, in fact, give any guidelines as to the proper gathering size or location. What it does do is explain what is to take place at those meetings (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2). So long as biblical teachings (orthodoxy) and practices (orthopraxy) are undertaken by those in assembly, it really does not matter what meeting format one chooses.