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Author Topic: House Church  (Read 1291 times) Average Rating: 0
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ipm
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« on: February 04, 2011, 01:19:06 AM »

Has anyone here done any research on house churches and how they work? Has anyone here attended one? Does this movement have any merit?

My understanding is that they are mostly protestant, that in spite of their claim of mimicking early church practices that they do not have a claim on any real knowledge of tradition or church practice at the time of the of the Apostles or early Christians, and that they seem to imply that most main-stream protestant churches have apostatized based on the house church rejection of them.
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 01:27:28 AM »

I'd be awfully surprised if they are praying liturgically in homes. It's likely more circle singing, blue jeans and "what this verse means to me."
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 01:29:05 AM »

My understanding is that they are mostly protestant, that in spite of their claim of mimicking early church practices that they do not have a claim on any real knowledge of tradition or church practice at the time of the of the Apostles or early Christians,...

That's my understanding as well...

I'd be awfully surprised if they are praying liturgically in homes. It's likely more circle singing, blue jeans and "what this verse means to me."

Ahh, that brings back memories!  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 02:45:09 AM »

If they really wanna be like the first century churches, they may want to toss most of the bible, maybe even all of it.

And that's not going to happen.

 Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 02:48:29 AM »

I'd be awfully surprised if they are praying liturgically in homes. It's likely more circle singing, blue jeans and "what this verse means to me."

Though now that I think about it, many of the vagante groups I've seen websites for seem to operate out of houses. There ya go! Real "Orthodox-Catholic" house Churches!  Grin

If they really wanna be like the first century churches, they may want to toss most of the bible, maybe even all of it.

And that's not going to happen.

 Cheesy Cheesy

Lol, good point Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 03:22:25 AM »

A funny practice considering the only reason the Christians didn't go to a church or temple specifically every day but instead their houses is because they were kicked out of any temple and weren't allowed to build their own.
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 09:06:08 AM »

It wan a common practise for the Orthodox magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to have Chapels in their residences.
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 09:19:38 AM »

I'd be awfully surprised if they are praying liturgically in homes. It's likely more circle singing, blue jeans and "what this verse means to me."

I have not been to one but we had a friend who ran one in his home and my husband went once just to see.  It is much as you described although there usually is some kind of "leader"... not a pastor but someone who has been recognized as having "the gift of leadership." or some such.    Definitely Protestant in flavor and not at all liturgical.  I think the meetings take on whatever is on "their hearts" that morning.  It seems to me that the one my husband went to had more prayer.

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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 09:35:43 AM »

Some house churches are born from necessity- for example, in China, where Orthodoxy is of dubious legal status and there aren't many priests around.
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 10:42:51 AM »

The parish I attend, which was founded by a group of Episcopalian converts, started out celebrating the DL in a parishioner's living room.
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 11:36:46 AM »

I have two active missions; one in Raleigh, NC and one in Greenville, NC.  The former is currently meeting at a chapel in my home.  The latter is in a Church building (which coincidentally used to be a house, but was fully converted over some years ago, but that is beside the point).

You can see photos of my home chapel here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=568100&id=505020362&l=a4072a0ce5

Some points for consideration:

1) Many Orthodox are uncomfortable having a liturgy in a hotel room or a school gymnasium where a few hours before or after, various activities may be occurring. A house chapel will probably be more respectfully maintained.

2) A house chapel is less likely to get newcomers.

3) Renting facilities costs money, and Orthodox missions oftentimes start out with just a few people, versus Protestant missions which often launch with 15 or 20 people from day 1.  Some of their manuals seem to indicate if you aren't up to 50 people in a month you are doing something wrong.  Roll Eyes Lips Sealed Shocked (Marketing over faith?)

4) The proprietor of a house chapel may not be willing to advertise out of concern for attracting dangerous people or because city zoning may give the proprietor a hard time, even though it is a religious service.

5) House chapel communities are often tight-knit and mutually supportive.

6) All Christians should try and build chapels in their residences if God blesses them with a domicile with sufficient space!  angel

7) Personally speaking, I would never reserve the Eucharist or serve a Presanctified Liturgy in my home. I can't justify having Our Lord sitting in my chapel while I am watching TV or having secular conversation in the next room. That is a big downside of a house chapel being used for a mission's primary services.

So there are some pros and cons.  Frankly, I pray that either a) someone will donate land & building in Raleigh (this actually happened in Greenville) or b) we will get enough core families to afford a building.  In either case, we are kind of in a catch-22: need more people to get a building. Need a building to get more people.  But at the same time, I am blessed to have services in my home and thank God that we have the people we have.
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 01:17:29 PM »

I'm a bit confused, I was under the impression that the OP was asking about the Protestant house church phenomenon, not about people that have Churches/Chapels/etc. in their house...?  Huh
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 01:19:41 PM »

So what is 'a Protestant house Church'?
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 01:24:50 PM »

So what is 'a Protestant house Church'?

The movement that seems to think that it was the big bad "Roman Catholic" Church that started using actual Church buildings, and that Jesus wanted everyone to just meet in people's houses and have Bible studies. Or something along those lines.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 01:25:26 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 01:49:26 PM »

I'm a bit confused, I was under the impression that the OP was asking about the Protestant house church phenomenon, not about people that have Churches/Chapels/etc. in their house...?  Huh

Your impression is correct, but the topic has already drifted...nothing new here Smiley

To the original poster: Protestant-run house churches are usually anti-Orthodox/Catholic and should be avoided.
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2011, 04:00:53 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Has anyone here done any research on house churches and how they work? Has anyone here attended one? Does this movement have any merit?

My understanding is that they are mostly protestant, that in spite of their claim of mimicking early church practices that they do not have a claim on any real knowledge of tradition or church practice at the time of the of the Apostles or early Christians, and that they seem to imply that most main-stream protestant churches have apostatized based on the house church rejection of them.

I grew up in Baptist churches that met largely in houses.  The church I was a part of initially had a building, but we decided to let it go.  The core of meeting in homes is for churches to be like a family, rather than a public meeting place.  A church building is a public space and it is inherently inviting to the public even if that is not necessarily the intentions, where as churches that meet in homes tend to be more word of mouth, family oriented. The membership and visitors tend to be family and friends of the existing membership, not typically any 'people from the street'

Not every home church is so ideological.  The churches I grew up in were mostly meeting in homes out of reaction to various circumstances, it was not necessarily any kind of philosophical or ideological or theological matter, often it was financial and logistical.  There are indeed some protestant churches that meet in homes as a kind of protest to established religion, and indeed these and even the home churches I grew up (who met in homes strictly out of circumstance) develop supporting ideology which aligns meeting in homes with the Apostolic and Early Church.  Of course this analogy is only partially accurate.  The Apostles did meet in some homes but were still often related with the local synagogues, and of course in Jerusalem they used the Temple. If anything, the reason the Jerusalem Church may have met in homes was precisely because they did not need a church building, until its destruction they had access to the Temple and local synagogues.


Still, I did grow up with the mentality that our home churches were in a way Apostolic in line with the New Testament instances of the early Church meeting in family homes.
I am also vaguely familiar with Orthodox parishes meeting in homes as "missions" however I have never heard of it being the case with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as we have to have a consecrated Altar slab known as the Tabot for all liturgical and Divine Mystery services.  Technically we can bring this into homes to have a service, but I have never heard of this, rather we tend to rent out other existing church buildings or meeting halls for this explicit purpose.  Essentially, I am not quite sure Ethiopian piety allows people to feel comfortable with a Tabot in their home, it is far to sacred.  We never even look at it, it is always veiled on the few occasions a year we take it out for Procession (Timket/Epiphany being a key processional event famous worldwide now) Maybe a Priest's home, but again, I have never actually heard of this, I am going to investigate around the Ethiopian community and see what peoples' experience have been with home churches.  Many folks have Saint's day celebrations and other kinds of devotional services at home, but I am not sure about Kidase/Divine Liturgy.

Are there any who have experience with Orthodox home churches and how it goes?
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 04:09:07 PM »

Nothing wrong with house churches—so long as a duly ordained priest or bishop presides over the service (like they did in the first century house churches).

Protestant house churches are basically reconstructionism through the lens of their Protestant rose-colored glasses. We had them in my former Protestant megachurch, and basically they were meant to foster micro-communities inside the overwhelming 10,000+ member menagerie. When they met, they were essentially Bible studies.

Although, around the time I quit, they started encouraging people to have "Eucharist" services in their house "churches." And of course, since it's just a memorial meal, we could even use tacos and Mountain Dew to represent Christ's body and blood. I wasn't ready to accept Christ's presence in the Eucharist yet, but I knew that was flat wrong. You can't have communion outside the whole community, presided over by laymen, and not even using the right materials!

Lord have mercy, it makes me want to vomit when I think about it.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 04:14:35 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2011, 01:17:32 AM »

Well let's not drag Mountain Dew into this...
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2011, 02:15:17 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Nothing wrong with house churches—so long as a duly ordained priest or bishop presides over the service (like they did in the first century house churches).



I know that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church uses mandatory consecrated Altar stones, usually of wood but sometimes carved stone, called the Tabot (tabotat in plural) and no Eucharistic services can be performed without a Tabot.  Further, only ordained clergy and deacons can either carry or even stand near the altar stone, so to put it in a house would I suppose at least have to comply with the church structure of the EOTC with three sections, the innermost being the "Qidus Qidusan" (The Holy of Holies) where only clergy can go.  If a service were to be performed in a home, a Tabot would have to be present and I suppose also the architecture restrictions.  When we have Timket services outside in a big tent, there is a inner section closed off.  

Much of the Orthodox tradition suggests that, even if initially placed in homes, even in the first century the Apostles' had churches (ie, specially sanctified buildings used for Eucharistic services).  It is even in the New Testament.

I know the Syrian Orthodox also have a wooden altar stone, the thabilitho, and before Vatican II, all Roman Catholic churches required a consecrated altar stone by a bishop for services, just as the tabotat must be consecrated by a bishop.

Further, if you did bring a consecrated altar stone into a home chapel, permanently though, wouldn't you in a certain spiritual way really just be turning a home into a church? In the EOTC, it is precisely the Tabot which makes the church building sacred and why we kiss the walls and the floors, we hold an Old Testament theology about the Church being the Temple, and the Tabot being like the Ark, and all the even superstitious sacredness attached to the Ark we give to the Tabot and any building, tent, or priest who is carrying it.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 02:20:16 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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