I thought about the last word of the title of this post for some time. “Proponent” may not be exactly the right word here. Perhaps “Cheerleader” is a better word.
But, in this post’s title, I mean “Proponent” like this definition:
Proponent: a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
Another possible description would be “enthusiast” in the following sense:
Enthusiast: an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity
So, what am I saying? Am I saying that I am AGAINST house church? No, that is not what I’m saying at all.
I’m saying that I am not a cheerleader for house churches or the house church movement. Why not?
Well, there are at least two reasons.
First, in the New Testament, the church met in different locations. Yes, primarily we see the church meeting in homes in the New Testament. However, there are at least two locations where the church met that were not homes. The church met in some form in the temple in Jerusalem (Acts 2:46). Also, while in Ephesus, Paul and the other believers met daily in the “hall of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9).
Second, simply moving a church meeting from a dedicated church building to a home does not necessarily change how the church meets. Unfortunately, I’ve read about many “house churches” that are simply traditional church structures and organizations transplanted into someone’s living room.
But, remember, the fact that I am not a house church proponent (cheerleader, enthusiast) does not mean that I am against house churches. I have met with the church in my house and in any number of other houses. I enjoy meeting with other believers in houses.
But, my goal – and the purpose of this blog – is not to get as many people as possible to meet in houses. Instead, my goal is to get believers to recognize their responsibility to build up (edify) one another (mutually) whenever and wherever they meet together.
Now, I do believe that some locations are better for church meetings than others. I believe that some setups or seating arrangements are better than others. But, that does not mean that believers cannot edify one another when meeting in a less than perfect location (as if there is a perfect location) or sitting in less than perfect arrangements (as if there is a perfect arrangement).
My hope is that each church will consider their current method of meeting together and attempt to change that method however necessary to help one another begin to encourage, teach, admonish, serve, and build up others. If this happens among a group meeting in a house, then great! If it happens among a group meeting in a school, awesome! If it happens in a church meeting in a big building with a steeple, fantastic!
So, no, I am not a house church proponent. However, I am a church proponent: I plead for the cause of allowing Jesus Christ to build up his church through all of those meeting together, not just through a few. I am a church enthusiast: I am an ardent supporter of the church gathering together for the purpose of the whole church helping one another grow in maturity in Jesus Christ.