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Non-Traditional Christian Churches

I didn't shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, teaching you in public and from house to house. Acts 20

We almost moved out that way. With the plan to start a fellowship somewhere in the area. from West Virginia to Cullowhee NC (had not really decided on the area) but the lord stopped us so we are remaining in North Idaho. Yes, land values are lower and I think you may be right about it being true wealth.

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Any home church folk on this site from southern West Virginia? Past or present. How do/did you like it? What are the bright spots in such a locality as this?

The property values there look to be inexpensive. Perhaps because of the high level of poverty. Land is plentiful. Maybe land will become a new symbol of true wealth.

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Steve has been promoting Jesus Christ via simple churches since the early 90's. Also a Conference organizer and the author/compiler of several books. He is a man of very high integrity. I've had the joy of encountering him several times. Good memories.

As for the meetings mentioned in 1 Corinthians, they included multi-lingual expressions (tongues) as well as intelligible extraordinary revelations from God (prophecies). I inquire: If these gifts were not active in a group today would more of the meeting 'default' to ordinary teaching? Every elder, you recall, must be "apt to teach". How does this fit in?

I am just stating the obvious. Most churches do not have persons which have these gifts - or at least they are not aware of them. I am not saying that all spiritual gifts have ceased - some are just rare. Healing - for example.

Personally, I would think it strange that a Christian would possess a spiritual gift and be unaware of it. But that is a separate topic.

And why would the apostle impose limits for tongue speakers or prophets? "Let two or three speak."

Also, could a traditionalist Christian argue that they do have open participatory meetings by way of Sunday School classes? And that they have regular fellowship meals, too, even though they usually separate their fellowship meals from their "ritual" bread and wine?

As for the sharing of music, that seems to be the easiest issue to settle. Most traditional congregations today invite special music as would those who meet in homes.

And don't miss another participatory element which is completely overlooked in these discussions. It's right here in this same chapter, by the way. It's the verbal, audible amen of agreement. 1 Cor. 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 

Obviously, I do not have all the answers. I am just attempting in my views to be led by Scriptures and to be fair to others. I am submitting this short video as food for thought. 

As always, I am interested in the historical and scriptural contexts. The good news is that we serve a patient God who looks at our hearts most of all. 

May the Lord direct my steps. Yours also.

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Hey dear brother, you are onto something important. While you take us down a hallway with many doors. That is to say: Many ideas which shape many aspects of life and church life come into view. Good!

Laziness is still alive and well, no doubt. The concept of "six days you shall work" is losing momentum in the West, obviously. Today, many will work hard to get out of work. And will cheerfully give their vote to the political candidate who promises the most free stuff.

Likewise, in the spiritual realm, there is also to be found the same passion for inactivity. I can recall reading house church discussions as far back back as the mid 90's. Whenever the concept of law and grace would come up - and themes about working out your salvation or exercising oneself unto godliness... almost instantly someone would state that works do not save, which of course is true. However, we are saved for or unto good works.

One clever guy back then would always respond as if with great authority: "Hey everyone, JUST BE."  This may sound a little absurd because... it is. In an ironic twist, the main proponent of the easy "JUST BE" plan, had great difficulty holding down a job himself - all while proclaiming to be have won "The National Greek Scholar's Award". In other words, he sought to lord it over others with credentials he did not possess.

Just be.... what? Be who? Be where?  It's akin to another favorite slogan of this thankfully bygone era: "Don't go to church - just BE the church." Yes, there could be an element of truth there depending upon what one possibly meant. Literally though, it means: "Don't go to the assembly - just be the assembly." 

Nowhere is the Scripture is a single person referred to as the church or a church. Try telling one of your children: "Don't go to school today - just be the school." 

OK. Let's focus. Jesus Christ went about DOING good. He walked down the street - they asked: Is this not the carpenter?" In his earthly form, He, the Son of God, did not claim to be exempt from employment. Nor did he ever try to market his ideas and teachings for personal gain on the side. That fact is very interesting and commands our attention.

Our Savior - a selfless man of industry, occupation, and action. Praise his holy name!

"If anyone will not work, neither should he eat." Where are those modern day preachers, prophets, apostles, bloggers, etc who would touch a verse such as this? They are quite scarce, no?

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I will cause a boy who drives a plow to know more of the Scriptures than does the Pope. 

     William Tyndale

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One popular commentator reports this good news. But a "fact-check" site denies it. I instinctively want to trust the Christian source but sometimes they are unreliable as well.

One of the amazing things about the story was that those converting to Christianity were having dreams and visions of Jesus Christ!

If the story stands, it would seemingly lead to more house churches. Harsh anti-Christian persecution is persistent in many locations around the world.

What is certain is that the power of God is never lacking - even in the dark era in which we find ourselves. In fact, the darker it becomes, the brighter the Truth will shine.

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Is the reason for few established house churches a lack of leaders or something else? What a question. There are definitely different reasons for a lack of house churches, but I want to point out one that is, in my opinion, so obvious that it usually goes unnoticed.

Ease and comfort.

Amos 6:1 starts, "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion..."

I can summarize by saying that around 90% or more of employees wouldn't show up at work if they didn't have to put in any hours to be paid (ie. they were paid whether or not they came to work) and that in the same way, christians usually won't work or labor or fellowship the way the Bible shows or follow God's leading because they don't have to in order to be 'saved'But I'll continue:

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician and was considered to also be a believer by the Protestants of his day. His First Law of Motion states that "a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force."

I think in Newton's first law of motion, he unintentionally captures and encapsulates so many relevant truths about life and godliness or about the natural order and the churches.

A person who lives in relative ease and comfort (ie. a body at rest) about 99% of the time will not step outside his bounds of ease. But a person who lives more of an active lifestyle (ie. a body in motion) is more inclined to step outside his comfort zone and act because he's already 'in the motion' of acting. This is why Jesus didn't tell His apostles to pray for Him to send ministers and pastors into the harvest field but told them to ask Him to send laborers. Anyone can be a laborer (you don't need to be a minister and don't need a title or position): a laborer is valuable to God [ahead of 'a minister'] because a laborer is someone who labors until the needed task is completed. This was why Jesus chose the twelve men He chose for service; they weren't ministers or unique (in fact, they were rather rough-hewn and unpolished sinners); but God knew and Jesus saw that these men were laborers who would see whatever mission they were given through to the end. Sure enough, as a laborer, Paul could later tell the Galatians, "My little children for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Gal. 4:19). 

In spite of Jesus's command to the apostles to go first to the Jews and then the Gentiles, the apostles would not do it. They remained 'at rest' in the comfort zone of being among the Jews until acted on by an outside force (ie. persecution, starting with Stephen); then they were 'forced' to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The Church then remained 'in motion' until acted on by another outside force (ie. the formal acceptance of christianity by the state into an institution and 'church buildings' which caused the churches to cease 'motion' (ie. Life) and to return back to 'rest' (ie. death)).

Like the human body, the Church can only retain Life or relevance as long as it is in motion. The central nervous system makes sure the body remains 'in motion' even while physically at rest because everything God created (observed well in atoms, neutrons, electrons, etc.) maintains life or literally continues to exist only in continual 'movement' or 'in motion' (as Paul stated, "In Him we live and move and have our being/existence" -Acts 17:28) as God Himself is 'alive' in the way of being constantly 'in motion'. (Heb. 4:12.) Therefore, one of the overlooked but foundational reasons there are few house churches is because most christians enjoy a level of comfort and ease that automatically makes them passive, lazy, lethargic, unmotivated, 'spiritually depressed' or 'dead', indifferent, self-centered/self-serving, and apathetic

The charismatics are waiting for God to bring revival; the fundamentalists are waiting for Jesus to rapture them; everyone [else] is waiting for someone else to take charge and take initiative (this is one reason people value pastors and the clergy)-- similar to 'Genovese Syndrome' aka the 'Bystander Effect'-- but as usual, God is actually and really the one who is waiting for [groups of] people to gather and approach Him 'in the prescribed manner' so He can 'pour out His Spirit' and blessings again. 

Jesus wanted the apostles to go to the Gentiles long before they actually and finally did. In the same way, there are many good things God wills to be happening right now that will have to wait because of the inactivity of His people. "A body at rest stays at rest." Most of God's works on earth hinge on the obedience of God's people, not on 'God's timing' as is often the commonly-held view. This is true from the NT backward all the way back through the Old Testament (eg. even under the Old Covenant and the Law, the Jews were told to include the Gentiles; but from that time even up into the times of the New Covenant, the Jews refused to do so; therefore, God's work was delayed). 

There is little faith, courage, vision, and motivation/power among christians right now, so the greater portion of what God wills to do right now will have to wait to begin after tremendous hardships (ie. economic collapse, civil unrest, war with other nations, and natural disasters) and personal hardship (ie. open or sponsored persecution of believers) break on the churches and the world. That's going to be a while coming. When it does happen, then just like was always the case with Israel in the Old Testament and was also the case in the early Church, the churches will then begin to 'tighten up' because hardship and persecution are upon it. Then, as alluded to in Malachi 3:13-18, there will be a major line of demarcation that will manifest as some christians will abandon the faith and run for their lives while others will decide to repent, turn back (return) to God, and do things His way including the pattern and practice of fellowship, house church, and 'church'.

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Good to see you, Jana. Welcome to this site! 

Try this link to our map:

All others, please allow me to make two quick points: Be certain that your profile is edited, if necessary, to show that you are open to the idea of fellowship with others.

Also, give out no more information than you are comfortable with, regarding your name and address.

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To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3

This passage was one I read through a number of times before finally noticing the kingdom of God part. The fact that Jesus spent His final 40 days on earth with His disciples focused on the kingdom should tell you just how significant this is. If you read through the gospels you will also see that the good news of the kingdom of God was His central theme that He preached and taught.
But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43

Paul continued the theme.

“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Acts 20:25

There is a lot more concerning the kingdom but wanted to put these few scriptures out there as food for thought. 

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David, When I read Paul's exhortation to "rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks," I can fully appreciate the value of studying biblical prophesy. Not all views of prophesy are optimistic. Some really could knock the wind out of a persons zeal.

On the other hand, friends like you and others who have looked more carefully at the whole of scripture, and have a clear view of our exalted Lord, already reigning over His realm, are a breath of fresh air.

I find it sad that all the confusion and debate over the promises and prophecies of the bible have caused many to avoid any discussion altogether. If all I could see was what the devil is doing and not have my eyes open to our Lord enthroned, I would be most miserable.

Somewhere out there is a new era or dispensation. Good people can disagree about the when. An era in which "He must reign." Interestingly, this precedes - not follows - the last enemy which is death.

Therefore, I will keep praying and hoping that his will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. 

But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

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Todd, you wrote:

 But that reform can only come about when we first recognize that we have only one true Head of the Church. We need to leave all the other nonsense behind and focus just on Him. And there is nothing that I know of, besides our own sin, that prevents us from pursuing that goal right now. May God give us the wisdom and courage and strength to pursue His kingdom reign and righteousness.

Years ago I began hearing an emphasis on the apostolic and prophetic ministries and some who imagined the 5-fold ministries in Ephesians 4:11 as "headship" over the body of Christ.

While I believe that God still gives these gifts to the church to build us up, I see a great danger in exalting them up in this way.

On the other hand, like you, I look for reasons to be encouraged and try to encourage others. Many in our circles look for opportunities to serve rather than to be served. They know that pastors and teachers have their part, but also that everyone of us has a purpose in the Lord's kingdom.

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I have been studying this and trying to walk it out for many years. Will try to post later this week. I self published a book called the Centurion Way with some basics on the gospel of the kingdom of God. Not trying to make $$ here really but lot of food for thought in what I share there. Blessings 

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I don't concern myself with or focus my time on doctrines that are not immediately important or pertinent. "Lord... I do not concern myself with great matters, with things too profound for me" (Ps. 131:1).

One of these doctrines is eschatology and all things regarding the second coming. Before Jesus ascended, His disciples asked Him if He was going to restore Israel at that time. He replied, "It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by His own authority." Shortly after, when He ascended to Heaven and the disciples stood looking after Him, two angels suddenly appeared and said to the disciples, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven." Or in contemporary language, "Why are you focused on what is to come? Go and focus on the business of what already is." (Acts 1:4-12.)

While there is a place for 'secondary doctrines', there should be no focus or over-focus on them. People who focus on doctrines of eschatology and things surrounding them are peering into the sky, watching for signs, the rapture, and the second coming. But Jesus would tell them what the angels told the disciples many years ago-- that they should not be looking into (concerning themselves with) those things as those things will work themselves out in time, but that they should be focused on the work at hand and obedience regarding that: "Wait in the city until you have been endued by power from on high." Etc.

An era is coming when Jesus will reign, yes. There are times of refreshing, renewal, revival, reformation, and restoration on the horizon as well. "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21). Those times and eras aren't to be a focus at this time, however.

Hidden (veiled, disguised) as the smallest creature in the lowest place, a symbol of weakness and obscurity, it actually symbolizes might, power, strength, and victory:

ValleyAnt = Valiant.

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Unfortunately, there are not as many online resources as there were 20 years ago. And not everyone wants to be online. As an example, I know of a growing group in eastern Ohio, but they have no desire to be on a platform like this.  What you may need to do is take the first step and just be willing to start meeting with people while asking the Lord to connect you with his "hidden ones." Also put up notices on any house church board you may find, that you are looking for like-minded people in Christ to meet with. Some communities even have small Christian newspapers you could advertise in. In my area, those papers are often found in the entryway of grocery stores and fast food places.

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So how DOES one find a house church to visit if they were looking. 

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Somewhere out there is a new era or dispensation. Good people can disagree about the when. An era in which "He must reign." Interestingly, this precedes - not follows - the last enemy which is death.

Therefore, I will keep praying and hoping that his will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. 

But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

ValleyAnt, your user ID reminds us of God's super-amazing creation. Good. Can you imagine if humans could proportionally lift as much as the humble ant? We would be walking around with car and trucks on our shoulders rather than riding in them...

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You wrote, "You said that your vision led you to believe that the church is in ruins." Fascinating how our five physical senses can interpret even plain things so wrongly. When I read "You said that your vision led you to believe that the church is in ruins" I nearly wept several times. The churches are in ruins. They're in shambles. We're just accustomed to shambles, confusion, scraps, and trickle blessings and think what we're used to is the actual truth, the correct pattern, the Heavenly blueprint, and Jesus's standard. 

If you can't see the ruins of the churches, then please pray for spiritual sight like Elisha prayed for his servant. It's plain if you look with spiritual eyes. I didn't need the vision to tell me that. (In the OT we see God's city and temple in ruins many times, needing to be rebuilt.) The vision wasn't talking about the state of the churches but the state of most pastors, the state of the leaders God appointed to build and establish the churches, and mostly the primary need for the Church and God's foremost method to bless or manifest God's blessings in a city or region which are the apostolic and prophetic ministries (as the Bible bears witness to). 

You wrote, "Despite her unfaithfulness, Christ's Bride is still able to articulate the core truth of the Gospel, namely, that Jesus is God Incarnate and that He died for our sins." How can a broken vessel work correctly? The churches can't articulate the truth clearly while they're broken, otherwise the churches wouldn't need to be restored. The light of Christ is and can be suppressed by darkness. The entire Bible makes this clear. One of the reasons God refines His people is to purify them so they will be clean channels-- or transparent rather than opaque or translucent channels-- of Jesus's light, love, and Life

I'm not encouraged about anything regarding the churches-- past, present, or future. I'm only encouraged that sooner or later, God has promised to be glorified through His Church. Jesus is the only head of the Church, but He set ministries in the Church whose function will never cease to be legitimate and relevant until the very end of time as the Bible says. These are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And as the Bible plainly states, Jesus set apostles and prophets as the foundation of the Church with Jesus Himself being the cornerstone. If we're too hard-hearted to adhere to the foundational things and the things that are plainly written in the Pages, then any wisdom, courage, or strength we think we have is obsolete and will do us no good. There's no piety or righteousness in editing God's Word because our intentions are good or because some people have misused and defiled certain truths in His Word. 

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1. The vision was a word of wisdom about the Church in general as well as the churches in Bellingham. The paralegal (who had a pastor's heart) was praying and would often pray for God to bless the city which God already wanted to do. The vision was telling him not to pray for God to bless but to pray for God to release the 'carriers of the blessings' as His vessels to bless the city. The prophetic and apostolic ministries in the vision were imprisoned (the prophets- Matthew 14) and condemned to death (the apostles- 1Cor. 4:9) which reveals that the enemy is holding back and oppressing these ministries as he always has since the OT and NT. 

2. "As the head goes, so goes the rest of the body." This is practically always true across realms (eg. physical, soul, and spirit), across kingdoms (eg. God's and satan's kingdoms), and across even truths and principles (eg. the Law of First Mention). In late 2003, I was praying in tongues when the Holy Spirit began to travail through me (never a nice experience). He was weeping and praying about the global and America's churches' leaders and their culture of sin, compromise, and lack of power (He gave me the interpretation), and so I was weeping as well though at the time I hadn't really experienced the leadership problem much. But between then and now, I've seen enough to know why He was weeping and groaning and travailing over not the church but its leaders. 

In Bellingham, I met the false prophet that the enemy placed as a leader among the churches. This false prophet started rumors about me and the principalities over the city and the satanists (satanists secretly own the city) got behind him to drive me out. But I met the genuine prophet who God set it in the city to bring revival. Unlike the false prophet, the genuine prophet was suffering tremendously unlike I had ever seen. God put me with him for a type of mentoring, but unfortunately, this prophet became offended at me after I had the above 3-part vision and he cut ties with me because he became envious. I'm currently in a place of needing to hear from God about my next step as I'm basically 'in the wind' right now. 

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You said, "While I agree that the problems you mention here do exist in the modern church, I would like to point out that God still has many faithful churches and church leaders who do not 'hold the people underwater.'"

That wasn't the scope of the vision. Part of the scope of the vision was that generally speaking, pastors keep the body of Christ in bondage, knowingly or not. And for those who realize that there are different types of 'bondage' and that 'bondage' manifests in different ways, it's true. 

Furthermore, God often speaks in generalities in order to communicate important or/and 'majority truth' as well as to cut to the chase (and allow the Holy Spirit to explain further for those who need it). Jesus included all the Pharisees when He rebuked them. Yet, He knew about Pharisees like Nicodemus (and Joseph of Arimathea) and other Pharisees who welcomed Him into their hearts and homes, but Jesus never specifically distinguished the godly Pharisees from the ungodly ones. This was because there's a time to generalize and a time to be specific, and when Jesus was talking to crowds of commonfolk or groups of Pharisees, generalizing was proper. When He talked to Pharisees individually, then being specific would be fitting. The apostles also accused Jews who weren't present at Jesus's death for His death because in that context, though Stephen later lost his life because of the same principle, it was proper to state that all Jews (just like all men) killed Jesus. 

I think when God makes a generalization we should just let Him do so. If we need an explanation we should ask Him for clarification rather than saying, "Not so, Lord." 

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An old cartoon from The Christian Standard magazin.

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Great input. Love the discussion.

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God loves you. He chose to send Jesus Christ to provide a way for you to have eternal life. The alternative is the second death spoken of in Revelation 21:8.


“But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”


The Bible clearly states the fact of a Second Death. Are you ready to face the Lord? Do you fall within any of the categories described in this verse?


Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary for your sin, our sin and the worlds sin. Everyone has the opportunity to overcome sin and be forgiven. The key is being “Born Again” while you live on Earth. 


It may sound that a strange term, but Jesus Christ clearly said that you must be born again.


Look at this Scripture from the Gospel of John. Read John 3:1-15. This Scripture proceeds the verse that shows up at football games, is listed on posts and mentioned by many Christians. Yes, John 3:16!


Some of the highlights of John 3:1-15 are as follows:


Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


  • If you are not born again, you cannot _________ the kingdom of God.
  • The kingdom exists — you just cannot see it. Christian’s can and do.


Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

  • Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he _______  enter the kingdom of God.
  • Christians can enter the kingdom of God. Unbelieving cannot enter.


As stated, these scriptures preceeds John 3:16. This verse describes the mercy of God. His love was poured out graciously upon mankind.


“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”


Jesus Christ is not referring to an intellectual belief. He is referring to a life-changing belief. A transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Being born again to a living hope of eternal life.


Read Acts 2:36-39


We are praying for your salvation and peace.

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If you were raised in the English-speaking world you would likely have sang or heard a song written by a man from this group. If you read Treasure Island - the author was also a member. (If it was an illustrated edition, you likely were unable to put it down.)

This is a story of the Mother and Father of the Wesley's. John and Charles were the famous sons. Their Mother is Susanna.

       Source: Arthur Dicken Thomas, Jr. via

As a mother and the wife of an Anglican rector, Susanna exercised a strong pastoral role in her home. To help her children learn the faith, she wrote a detailed and lengthy exposition of the Apostles’ Creed. She started “the custom of singing psalms at beginning and leaving school, morning and evening.” She had her older children instruct the younger children in Bible study and prayers before breakfast and in the evening. Every evening she provided an hour or so to discuss with each of her sons and daughters their “principal concerns,” providing them her spiritual direction.

In 1712 Susanna wrote her husband of her pastoral concerns for his parishioners: 

At last it came into my mind, though I am not a man, nor a minister of the gospel, and so cannot be engaged in such a worthy employment ....yet... I might do somewhat more than I do...I might pray more for the people, and speak with more warmth to those with whom I have an opportunity of conversing.

A more pronounced pastoral dimension of ministry developed when Samuel was away at the Convocation of the Church of England in London for several months at a time. Susanna for some time had regularly gathered her household, including the children and servants, to sing psalms and listen to printed sermons, after which she would read the service for Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. During the winter of 1710-1711 some of the Wesleys’ neighbors joined in these times as well. She wrote that one local boy

...told his parents; they first desired to be admitted. Then others who heard of it begged leave also [requested admittance]. So our company increased to about thirty...

In his absence, Samuel paid curates (assistants) to perform his priestly duties. In the winter of 1711-1712, an ineffective curate was in charge, and people began to flock to Susanna’s kitchen prayer meeting. Samuel’s associate, Godfrey Inman, wrote to him relaying the fact that his wife was drawing more townspeople to the Sunday night meetings in her home than were coming to the services which Godfrey led in church on Sunday morning.

Susanna explained in a letter to her husband: 

With those few neighbours who then came to me I discoursed more freely and affectionately than before; I chose the best and most awakening sermons we had, and I spent more time with them in such exercises....

Since this, our company has increased every night; for I dare deny none who ask admittance. Last Sunday I believe we had above two hundred, and many went away for want of room. Although not an ordained priest, Susanna was offering the parishioners a complete Anglican service by reading prayers and a sermon of her husband. When her husband wrote her voicing the objections of Inman,

Susanna wrote back to him: 

If you do, after all, think fit to dissolve this assembly, do not tell me that you desire me to do it, for that will not satisfy my conscience: but send me your positive command, in such full and express terms as may absolve me from all guilt and punishment for neglecting this opportunity of doing good when you and I shall appear before the great and awful tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In response to this letter, Samuel allowed his wife’s meetings to continue until his return home. Susanna was not trying to become a priest, rather she was attempting to engage in the evangelism of her neighbors at a time when families who seldom went to church were willing to attend her home services. 

Only 20 or 25 would attend the curate’s service. But as many as three hundred came to her kitchen meetings. The kitchen meetings came to an end when her husband returned to resume his duties as rector of the parish. Her reasons for creating a house meeting were the salvation of souls, her care of her children’s spiritual development, and a desire to observe the Sabbath strictly.

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I'll be the first to admit that I've never had a vision like yours so it can be hard for me to relate to your experience. That being said, we do have an easy way to understand our dreams, and that is to compare them with Scripture. You said that your vision led you to believe that the church is in ruins. When I look at the institutional church of today compared to the Biblical standard, it seems to me that the church is simply being unfaithful to our Savior's commands. Despite her unfaithfulness, Christ's Bride is still able to articulate the core truth of the Gospel, namely, that Jesus is God Incarnate and that He died for our sins. Many institutional churches then layer on all sorts of rules and regulations that are nowhere to be found in the Bible. But does all that extra junk negate the Gospel message? Does the light of Christ not shine through our darkness regardless?

Before I was kicked out of my last church for refusing to obey the Elder's commands regarding Communion observance, I had many conversations with my fellow congregants about my concern that the church leadership had usurped Christ's authority in the operation of the church. Interestingly enough, while many still encouraged me to be obedient to those leaders, there were also those who sympathetic to my concern about Christ's lordship over His church. Not a single person I spoke with disputed that the church belongs to Christ and to Him alone.

It is because of this that I am greatly encouraged for the future of the church. Over the last year I have found myself in agreement with those here that the clergy/laity system is unBiblical and needs reform. But that reform can only come about when we first recognize that we have only one true Head of the Church. We need to leave all the other nonsense behind and focus just on Him. And there is nothing that I know of, besides our own sin, that prevents us from pursuing that goal right now. May God give us the wisdom and courage and strength to pursue His kingdom reign and righteousness.

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Added a comment to Observation 

Being new to the house church movement, I find myself still trying to wrap my brain around it. Having literally been kicked out of my last church for daring to suggest that the elders were operating outside of the scope of the authority granted to them by Christ, I quickly found myself without a home. That's not completely true as I still have friends and family there, but I am not welcome by church leadership if I follow Christ's commands. I agree with your assessment, David, that the church has a bright future. It may not be in this life, but it certainly is in the life to come.

As for the church in the here-and-now, I also agree that we should not be weary in well-doing. It is difficult, however, not to be discouraged in what we see happening in the church today. At one time I had an intense interest in the various denominations that have grown from the early church, but the more I learn about them the more I see sinful, schismatic behavior that goes directly against the commands of our Lord that we live in unity with each other. It seems that every church leader wants to claim that they are the spiritual descendants of Peter so that they can claim the authority. But how many of them first want to confess that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16)? They want the power. They want the glory. Yet I struggle to see their love for God's people when they drive every wedge possible between themselves and their fellow believers.

As far as the house church movement goes, I have yet to attend even though there is one that meets nearby my home and I have made contact with them. I have read through their extensive writings and find myself in agreement with most of them. One thing holding me back at the moment is that I have tried churches of many kinds in the past and have left each encounter disappointed. So I'm trying not to rush into anything this time around. In some ways I am feeling that it won't be long before the other shoe drops and I find myself disenchanted with the movement. Perhaps this is unfair for me to think like this, but it's where I find myself today nonetheless.

What I'd like to find in real life is what I've found to some degree with this group here, which is to see Christ at the core of every conversation, and the Bible as the ONLY authority. I find great value in creeds and catechisms as learning aids, but not as rules and authoritative sources in the life of the Christian. Why can't my time spent with my fellow Christians be devoted to how Jesus loves us so much as to give his life for us? Or to discover what Scripture says about God's Kingdom (reign) and the pursuit of righteousness? And what of Jesus' promise that "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)? Yet for as much as I have come to despite the modern-day Pharisaical practices found in today's institutional churches, I know from experience that I must do more than complain about the old system. There needs to be something for me to work toward. Something beautiful. Something ancient. Indeed, the Ancient of Days.

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  I have seen and been apart of "elder-led" fellowships in the past when I was not wrapped up in the system. For the most part elder-led was a good thing. A singular leader often, gets bent towards personality driven.

  But still, at some point someone needs to open the door in an area and say," hey, let's use my living room, or I know a great spot in town!"

  Personally, people love comfort and really don't think the religious landscape is going to change unless the environment forces them to change. Traditionally, this has often happened when people start getting killed for their faith.

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Hi there, Robert. The whole concept of ANY sort of leadership is anathema to many in the "out of church movement". They would maintain that "Jesus is their pastor". They were selling T-shirts with this slogan, which of course has a profound element of truth.

As for the numbers, I fell out years ago with several "leaders" because they were claiming and publishing that the movement had "tens of millions" of practitioners. And the number was "rapidly multiplying" faster than anything else. This was 15 or 20 years ago. 

I just checked the George Barna website, which previously had a whole section of books devoted to "Organic Church". There was nothing on this subject. George "co-authored" Pagan Christianity and wrote another house-church friendly book called Revolution.

For those unfamiliar with his name, he is a noted researcher, pollster, and futurist. Referred to by some as the most quoted Christian. Looks like now he is catering again solely to those in the institutional church which is where the future must lie and definitely where the big money is. Some of his books are around one hundred dollars, by the way. Perhaps they have CD's or additional online content. Seems kinda high. From a guy who wrote extensively about pastors not deserving a salary.

The "Revolution" however never occurred. It was a dud. The built it it - but nobody came. The religious landscape was not altered as we had hoped. 

Aside from that, I am quite optimistic about low cost, non-traditional, clergy-less, meet-anywhere churches. 

It's certain that some house churches do not want to be noticed. That said, the most frequent email we receive is: Where is a church near me?

Above all: The gates of hell shall not prevail against the true church and its bright future! So let us not be weary in well-doing!

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Added a Discussion  

  I have been noticing something. I have looked around at a couple of other sites like this one. There seems to be a lot people, but very few established houses to meet at.  Does this mean the house church movement is suffering from a lack of leaders, or is it something else?

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Your point on returning to the promises in God's word is so important. I am grateful that like Paul's son in the faith, Timothy,  I was taught to love the scriptures from a young age. That knowledge has followed me and helped me for many years since. We live in a time when pity is mistaken for compassion. Lately I have been touched by the compassion of Christ towards the many I know who struggle with addictions and serious weaknesses in their character.

His compassion motivates me not to affirm the failures of humanity but to shine the light on the victory that has been won for them in Christ. He came into the world not to condemn it but that the world through Him might be saved!  I desire not to condemn anyone, but to truly help them somehow. I want them to know the Good News that God not only forgives them but will deliver them even in their present circumstances. But sometimes I don't even know where to start.

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Hello there, dear Dan in Columbus. You bring up important things. God indeed accepts us as we are - but loves us so much that he will not leave us as we are. 

Why should we not want to be changed for the better? The alternative is to be overcome by sin, again and again. To hurt ourselves and others, too. Is life not complicated enough?

OK. If a person came to me for advice and confessed: "I have lost the joy of my salvation. Not not sure if I'm really saved.”  My first instinct would be to go straight to the promises of God. Based upon his forgiveness, eternal grace, and holy word. That approach might be helpful.

Look at 1 John, however. To this writer, assurance can also come by passing certain tests! Certain behavioural tests. Not perfectly, of course, but in principle. 

Carefully notice all the IF’s in this short letter, with regard to one passing from death unto life. 

1. 1 John 1:5-7 (Walking in the Light) 

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

2. 1 John 1:8-10 (Confession of Sin) 

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

3. 1 John 2:3-4 (Obedience)

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

4. 1 John 2:9-11 (Love for the Brethren)

9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

5. 1 John 2:15-17 (Hatred for the World) 

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever 

6. 1 John 2:24-25 (Perseverance in Doctrine)

24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life. 

7. 1 John 3:10 (Righteousness)

10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

8. 1 John 4:13 (Spirit's Testimony) 

13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

9. Hebrews 12:5-8 (Discipline)

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons

Interesting, huh? 

All these if’s are in the context of free and unmerited GRACE, of course. That said, The Almighty One, desires to change us more and more into the image of his Son. And to be our Lord - not just our Saviour.

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