Howard Snyder Summarizes the House Church Movement

House Church Models

The large and diverse literature on house churches continues to grow. Generalizations about house churches apply in some contexts but may totally miss the mark in others. For example, some house churches are authoritarian, others egalitarian. Some are profoundly missional, others are ingrown and narcissistic. Some are charismatic, others are decidedly anti-charismatic. Some view house churches as the only true church; others see them as supplemental or as renewing agencies for traditional churches. Like all churches, some may be healthy and others dysfunctional.

For our purposes, four points should be noted: First, house churches are generally “primitivist” in the sense that they see the first-century church as normative for today. Second, house churches have always existed in church history and in many contexts have been the church’s primary form (as in the New Testament church and in much of China today). Third, often renewal movements have initially been embodied in house churches or gatherings. Fourth, functional house churches often experience a deep level of mutual support and shared community that is often missing in traditional churches, despite the prominence of koinonia the New Testament.

"Models of Church and Mission: A Survey"

Center for the Study of World Christian Revitalization Movements, Edinburgh, 2010

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