China, India is not our pattern of house churches, the NT is.
China and other nations who are successful at meeting in homes might be a good example for us to follow simply because they are being obedient to the NT patterns of church meetings. Other nations are simply disobedient to those patterns, simple as that.
We will look inside the early church reasons behind what they are doing and why they acted such response to their Lord.
Jesus and His disciples and so as the earliest church never went to church. If we are teaching the notion that Christianity is going to some sacred place week after week until the end of their lives ‘studying’ the Creator God we will always end up in the same place: church. The early disciples were never known for their ‘going to church’ activities for three hundred years. Instead they are known for their laying on of their lives for their King. They were known as ‘heretics’ and ‘cults’ of their day. They don’t have the temple, the priest and the programs in which you see most, if not all, of the religions of their day.
Christ, their Lord is not a ‘place’ to ‘attend’ and attempt to ‘study’ Him. He is a person to have a relationship with and is accessible for us to know Him. We are far more worst than scientist, they are studying the creation of the Creator and cannot even fathom it. How much more us as His own disciples ‘studying’ Him. Really? I don’t think we are given the privilege by our Master to ‘study’ and ‘observe’ and finally ‘apply’ in our lives what we think we understood Him? We are His ‘friends’ (jn15) you know and has given the privilege to ‘know’ Him, not ‘attend’ Him.
God does not leave our homes when we became Christians, in fact He stayed there more than in our sacred edifices. And biblically speaking, He leaves our churches long time ago already. Haven’t you known that? Yes, two thousand years ago He left the building. He doesn’t want to live in temple made with human hands anymore. Sorry. He choose to live amongst His people, His Tabernacle. (1Cor.3:16; Jn.1:14)
The early church understood the same belief. What they have in mind when you ask one of them what church did he attend? His answer would be, “I am the church, where should I go to?” Today, most Evangelical Christians makes no difference with other religions next door. Even amongst themselves they despise each other. From church labels to the color of their carpet they fought each other in court.
How you understand Christianity is how you express them. If it is a religious activity then you go where those places are and pay homage. Such activity is setting up a very bad example to your next generation. I cannot imagine myself going to church for 20 years and then my children and my grand children would do the same? Scary thought.
“What are advocating Molong, we meet in homes?” you may ask. And what will you want to do in your homes, do some religious meetings with your family? Nothing different. Meeting in houses just as in the days of old is just a default system of the early church disciples. What they care for is not the new location now to meet but a new commandment to love for one another deeply as brothers and sisters in one family of God. And because of that commitment with each other I want to live next door to you! And from there we live Jesus life together not in a religious way of setting up ‘programs’ for each others families to attend every week (how can we have a schedule to study the Bible when we can just sit down for a coffee every morning?) but as a life. Meetings then becomes a by-product of our lives being intertwined each other like a fabric of cloth. Our children then could play with each other and as we parents can raised them up together. We be their best ‘friends’ simply because we have spent our lives sacrificially to be with them. Not best ‘teacher’ because we make better programs with them. Hmnn….they needed us, not programs.
See, many thought that meeting in homes is just another fad simply because they have grown so bored with meetings. One friend even gave a comment about his group, “Now what, are we just going to be like this? We’re all gonna die!”
In China they say, house churches are springing up because there is persecution. The first location to find you if you are wanted by the government is in your own house. And do you think it is where you hide doing house church? Saul, when he was so wicked and before God saved him, was dragging disciples of Jesus ‘from house to house.’ He knows where they are hiding. Well, are they really hiding in there? It’s true, most Chinese Christians gave a reason that they do house churches because of persecution but we have to go deeper than that by looking at the early church reasons. It is not simply persecution, though they are persecuted. They are persecuted not because of where they meet but because of how they live. It is not that we go to church differently, either a building or a house, but it’s how we live life differently. I heard someone says that there is nothing magical in the house where we meet. While that is true, but really I found some magic if we stay connected with our families when we meet with God where we are living together ‘daily from house to house.’ It is where the blessing of God will be poured out. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”
If we stick meetings in our houses for the sake of it, then in the same way with the early church, we will be scattered as they are. Our purpose is not to met in one location either how big or how small is that but it more of our calling as disciples to go and bear fruit. The moment we stop in the moment we die. We must go on.
This is not about China, big church location or small to hold meetings. It is about the expansion of the Kingdom of God, not your empire. God doesn’t care about your church, He cares for His Church. Are you a kingdom-based church or a church-based kingdom?
Go and make disciples. Expand His Kingdom by extending your family through making disciples. This is what house/simple/organic house churches is all about.