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House Churches: A Church That Meets In A Home

Updated on July 22, 2012

Recently while replying to a question on Hubpages, I briefly described the church I attend. Another Hubber responded with: “No offense please, but that sounds more like a cult than a church.” Putting aside the fact that name-calling of another’s community of believers is uncivil, and something I would simply never do as a matter of both ethics and good manners, especially if the person had just mentioned that these were her dearest friends, I want to take a look at this interesting organization I am a part of. Many people perhaps have not heard of it.


I belong to a housechurch. After over 25 years in the traditional church, I joined the housechurch movement, and I have found it to be a much better model for both individual Christian life and corporate experience. Although every one is unique, here are some basic facts about housechurches:

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

An excellent study on current Christian practises arose from pagan roots.


Housechurch? What’s that?


We meet in a home

A housechurch gathers in someone’s house or apartment, rather than in a building set aside for the purpose. I think I could use this as a metaphor for what makes housechurch different from traditional churches: a housechurch happens in the midst of the rest of your life, not in a separate space. I find this facilitates Christianity becoming more integrated into your everyday life, rather than something that feels far away once you’ve hung up your church clothes.


The group is small

Since you are meeting in a house, the housechurch by definition won’t long contain more people than will fit in a living room.  My housechurch is three families with their teen and tween children, and usually between two and four friends of our kids. We encourage bringing friends to church, and the friends like it enough to show up on a fairly regular basis. This means six adults and between nine and eleven teenagers, so things are lively. With some folding chairs, we all make it into one room.


You’ll either end up close, or decide this is not the group for you

Unlike a traditional church, where you can attend service with someone for years and know nothing about them, housechurchers get acquainted. Can’t help it really. House churches seldom have a traditional sermon where one person talks for forty minutes and everyone else listens quietly, or takes the opportunity to daydream. Everyone interacts, talks issues and opinions, and a rapport grows. If a person just doesn’t feel comfortable, or the tenor of the group isn’t their cup of tea, they rarely continue to attend. Those who do integrate into the group often become very close friends. This isn’t forced, it’s a natural dynamic.


No pastor

There is no professional pastor who knows more than everyone else and is charged with teaching them, while they are charged to learn. Everyone is on a much more equal footing, so teaching time is shared, and also interactive. Interestingly, research shows people learn better in an interactive environment than a straight lecture. Housechurchers often take turns bringing the lesson or facilitating the discussion. The smallness of the group and the tendency to form real bonds of friendship facilitate participation, even moments of leadership, from the most tentative of members.


Housechurches are flexible

Our kids are at an active age, so we do a lot of action oriented stuff: getting all the kids onto instruments or microphones to make some worship music, packing care packages for the orphanage we help support in Mexico, making hot food for the homeless and handing it out, planning activities our group can lead in the local family shelter. We also do things like camping trips and game night. We don’t skip the Bible study and prayer, but our group is focused on our kids right now, and long evenings of discussion don’t speak to teens. They like to get out and do something.


This is a great strength of housechurches: they don’t need to be all things to all people, and so can address quite specific needs and desires. Another housechurch in our area is made up of young adults not started on families yet. There’s another made up of empty nesters. Nobody made people separate into groups this way; a natural, one might say organic, self-sorting happened.

Back to the “Cult” comment

To get back to the Hubber who labeled our lovely group of devoted Christians a “cult,” her expanded remarks do a very good job of highlighting how housechurchs differ from many traditional churches. Here she is reacting to my comment that my housechurch friends gave substantial help at home when my chronic pain condition was at its peak:

"Graceomalley, no offense please, but that sounds more like a cult than a church. I wouldn't want people coming in to do my laundry and cook or clean my house.. why so they can nose through my belongings? Instill their views on my kids? I can deal with a few dirty dishes and hubby & kids to take care of me when I'm sick, that's what families are about. We take care of the pastor so he can visit, like he did mom in the hospital and my dad and others who need him."

I find this very interesting. By admission, this person belongs to a church full of people she neither likes, respects nor trusts. She wouldn’t want their help when she is sick because they might take advantage of her vulnerable state to indoctrinate her kids or pry into her private affairs. Is she unduly suspicious, or have church members given her cause? Either way, these dynamics sound sadly far from the ideal presented in the New Testament, where the Christians lived life together, committed themselves to caring for one another, and formed strong bonds they intended to honor not only in this world but in the next. Interesting that she says, “Hubby & kids…take care of me when I’m sick, that’s what families are about,” drawing a line between how close a family is (close enough to trust when sick), and how close she feels to members of her church (they will go through her stuff if given the chance.) A far cry from Paul’s statement that fellow Christians Priscilla and Aquila had put themselves in danger of death to help him.

Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens
Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens

Doing church so that it integrates with the rest of your life.


Why join this club?

So why does she belong to this organization? She clearly isn’t attached to her church for the people in it. I think the answer is in the next sentence: “We take care of the pastor so he can visit, like he did my mom in the hospital and my dad…” I think this is a fairly common reason to belong to a traditional church: pastoral services. After all, a pastor of this type has a bachelor’s degree, then seminary, then perhaps an internship, which all adds up to six to eight years of full time training. He (or more recently she) preaches sermons, counsels people through confusing times, supports them with attention and visits, and performs ceremonies like funerals and weddings. This person is unlikely to be too “nosy,” they are too well trained and know how to be personable while maintaining a proper professional distance. Rather than deal with a regular Christian, bound to have some rough spots, one can receive “ministry” from a polished Christian. In my own experience in the traditional church, people are most likely to choose a church based on the quality of the pastoral services. They may even (like the hubber quoted) harbor distain at the character of the average person in the pew, while speaking in glowing terms of the pastor.

Traditional church is at the end of the day an institution. I’m not against institutions per say: society needs them. But to my mind there is a great weakness to the role of the pastor as we have come to practice it, a role unknown in the first three centuries of the church.

Many wonderful individuals become pastors, but the system itself often creates hard worked pastors presiding over immature, lethargic flocks. My observation is that for many people, being in a traditional church is a lot like living at home with Mom and Dad all your life. It’s comfy, and especially if you get to chose your own wise, benevolent, and caring Dad (and are free to leave him and find a new Dad if he disappoints you), what could be better? Dad takes care of all the hard stuff, and as long as you can tolerate your annoying siblings, life is great.

A few years later: My sis is my best friend!
A few years later: My sis is my best friend! | Source

Inside and Outside Traditional Church

Some Christians function fine within the traditional church. I've known people in Catholic, Presbyterian, and other denominations who have a deep walk with God and participate in Christian community. But I've seen many others who behave the way the hubber quoted above does: the shelter of the organization covers for fear of getting close to people, for difficulties trusting others. For these people, the organization unfortunately enables this weakness. By keeping other Christians at bay, and accepting help, advice and comfort only from the pastor, they miss an opportunity to interact with other Christians as equals. This may protect them from some unscrupulous people, but it will be at the cost of personal growth. Taking part in community pushes a person to try their hand at new things, and can give them the stability to risk rejection. It helps them develop their own internal compass. Participating in community makes people more accepting of others, because they discover just how hard reaching out is.

I left that safety net some years ago, because I felt God called me out of the traditional church. I still live in My Father’s House, and always will. But I've found the natural equality of housechurch a good fit with how I operate as a Christian. It just feels more real to me.

The housechurch movement is big, and seems to be only gaining momentum. My experience is that it is the opposite of a cult. A cult robs your personhood and your adult status in service to its own objectives. Cults focus on control of people, their material possessions and opinions. Housechurches are grass roots, undogmatic, loosely organized. Without buildings or paid staff they have little overhead, so they won't be asking for your money. They carry the dangers of any unsupervised organization: I wouldn't just walk in and give myself over heart and soul to any group of strangers that call themselves a housechurch. But if a person has a decent level of disernment, or if you join a housechurch full of people you've known for years anyway (that's what I did), there are tremendous opportunities to live out the Christian life.

A great place for the church to meet
A great place for the church to meet | Source


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    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Issac & Emily - Thank you for reading, and for your message.

      Serving in overseas missions is not a possibility for our family due to serious health problems that require staying close to our doctors. But thank you for your invitation, and God bless you.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you Owl, for your nice comments. It's nice to find other Christians who aren't stuck in Churchianity. Blessings.

    • Owl In The Barn profile image

      Owl In The Barn 

      7 years ago from UK

      Hi, This is the first post i have put up. Also i never read everything, as when i saw some of the books you advertised i thought Amen!. First off, Don't be discouraged by some folk who cling onto the church as there everything. And remember Churches started in homes, When two and three gather, you have a New Testament Church. It's hard to find a good strong charismatic church nowadays that is moving as it should. To much Churchianity! And not enough Christianity. Small groups, house groups, or small churches' whatever you want to call them are good, and i encourage you to keep moving as a church. Silly remarks should be water off a ducks back.

      A church is Not bricks and mortar. The church is the body, you. And Christ is the head, sadly a lot of people have forgotten this and have become to religious. Keep it real for Jesus. As a church, gift as the Apostle Paul & James taught you. Feed the poor, take care of the sick, look after the widows etc. You should be seeing some great things as well, Mark;16,vs15-18, take this serious as a church.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I must have, and I'm SO GRATEFUL that I did. I'm going to speak to my husband about praying on it, and checking to see if there are one or more happening around us. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Motown - I also thought you were following me - maybe you just kept finding me.

      I get some great comments on these hubs. It's very flattering how much thought people put into their writing here.

      My family has had a great experience in house church. It's definately refreshing after the institutional thing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      grace, this is a great hub! I thought I was following you already! Anyway, I've also been discerning the idea of house church. I'm Catholic, but my husband is not. Right now, he's burned out on church completely. He's not even interested in going to a church of his own denomination, let alone mine, and I want to find something we can share if possible, because our faith is solid and strong.

      This hub is very informative and well written, which I would totally expect from you!

      Thanks for the info, and I'll keep you posted. And, not to worry, I am following as of THIS moment. I'm so sorry. Thought I'd done that already!

      I'm also going to come back and read ALL of these comments. Slarty always has very interesting things to say, and I'm curious about the responses of the others.

      Just in quick response to Apostle Jack - grace's church neither looks nor acts like a cult - it does in truth much more resemble the first century church experiences, which is far closer to what I think Jesus might have planned for us.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Mandrake - I agree that early history of the church is little known these days.

    • Mandrake_1975 profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I don't see how house churches could be called cults when they are the original form of the church. Anyone who has done any studying of Church History and the History of Christianity would know that, but unfortunately most Christians and non-believers are ignorant to history.

      Great hub!

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      C-Bless - Cell groups are alot like housechurches. Both emphasize community, sharing lives and so forth.

    • C-Bless profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Housechurch sounds similiar to what is also known as "cell groups". Some people, for whatever reason, can't make it to the church building so meetings/services are helded at a more convenient location (someone's home). Scriptures do say that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, God is there. So as long as the teachings are biblical, there is church. Church is where the people are, and not about a building.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Enlydia - All too true about the business. Not what Jesus wanted. Moneychangers in the house of prayer and all that.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      7 years ago from trailer in the country

      Your Housechurch sounds great for you...Though I love Jesus so much, I would never join a traditional church again. I was a part of the Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, and Catholic worship...It is not so much their beliefs that trouble me, but the way they do business...and it often is a business.

    • SaiKit profile image


      7 years ago from Toronto

      My traditional churches have problems because older people automatically get higher authorities in the churches. Pastors are people who have been lifelong churchgoers.

      However, these older people can't quote a verse to back up anything they teach or practice, and that is the problem.

      I would rather have someone who is very passionate and young, who has experienced God in different ways such as performing miracle, see visions, and know the bible well, than having older people who don't know what they are doing. There are many of them.

      House churches, when is done biblicaly, would solve the problems you listed here. The teenagers and kids will always have a community of believers to guide them, love them, and protect them. I expect that number of child abuses would decrease a lot when adults have peers who supports and keep them accountable. It truly takes a village to raise kids.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      RTalloni - Glad you liked the hub! You are right, I don't expect people to be perfect (who does?) but some ways of organizing ourselves bring out the best in us, and others bring out the worst. In deference to the weakness of our frame, sticking with the best organization, the one most likely to support and help us grow, seems wise.

      I don't mind people disagreeing, and I don't delete anyone's comments, but i wish we could all be civil. Speak the truth in love, or at the least speak your opinion with good manners.

      SaiKit-Nice to meet you, your hubs look very interesting.

      You bring up a very good point about leadership in the church. I think Christians are all equal in value, and ought to strive to be equal in maturity. of course some will be ahead of others, and then are in a great position to help the younger and less mature. What troubles me about the way church leadership is currently structured is that it seems to have little to do with personal maturity in God, and more to do with natural charisma.

      This is what i think would change this situation for the church: if all Christians had the expectation that they would learn to make a living at something, build relationships, build a strong marriage, raise their children from babies through the storms of adolescence - and at that point, when they had lived the Christian life through some decades, they would become eledgible for church leadership. These would then be proven people, people you knew you could lean on, because they had managed their own lives well. As far as i can tell, this is what the New Testament urges. When qualifications are listed as: his children are beleivers, he has a good reputation in the community, he only has one spouse, he doesn't drink to excess nor is he too eager to make alot of money - this sounds like an older person, a person who has raised a family and maintained a marriage, and avoided addictions to alcohol and money. Unfortunately, the church for a very long time has had a different kind of leadership. If someone is going to be trained as a professional pastor, they almost always decide that early in life, and set themselves on the path of 7 years of higher education needed. They are well into this program of study before the real testing of life begins - managing and providing for a marriage and family as well as oneself. They are committed to the church leadership path before undergoing the testing needed for it. I don't think the New Testament says "If a man cannot manage his family how can he manage the household of God?" for nothing. It is truly the best testing ground in life. Unfortunately, we have the opposite. In this country at least, pastors are famous for family problems. I live in a small town of 11 thousand people, and in the past few years just in this little community one pastor's kid has served a year in jail for stealing an AK-47 and selling it to a gang, another pastor's kid joined a gang, became a drug dealer and was arrested threatening a crowd with brass knuckles, and a third was a cocaine addict and father of two at the age of 19. These kids are all clearly troubled, hurting individuals. As a mother of a teenager myself i know you can't control them. But isn't that the point? Once you can't by force restrain them, will they have the character to become functional adults? This is when your parenting really bears fruit - what kind of adult is your child. I am not about judgement here, I'm just trying to be about reality. I think if people began to be considered for church leadership in their 50s, the church would be much more functional. Who will make the best leader for a church - someone who can preach a great sermon, or someone who has proved to be an outstanding spouse and parent?

    • SaiKit profile image


      7 years ago from Toronto

      Great hub. I have been promoting house church as an idea. A god-send friend and I have been meeting outside of traditional church for a year. It took us a lot of energies and determination to stay away from the subtles attacks and deceptions that try to get us back to the institutional organizations that call themselves churches.

      We believe that we have to follow the Bible to the Tee. We have exposed many deceptive interpretation of the Bible from mainstream church-goers that try to keep people in the systems, instead of going back to the Lord's churches.

      Some of your arugments have been on my mind too. The good works of outreaching to the poor and needy are the original function of the New Testament Church, and you guys naturally practicing it over there, so good job! You guys are doing well it seems.

      I think I disagree with the equality part, but I certainly strongly agree with you on the point about having a pastor, which was a practice that didn't exist in the first 3 centuries of the NT Church. I have been saying that to people non-stop and amazingly they believe more in their churches than the Bible.

      We are sowing seeds.

      I hope in the near future house churches will adopt children, provide shelters for foster kids, and rescue prostitutes and homeless people from their predicaments. Right now people are being complacent in the institutional churches imagining they are doing God's work by playing their institutional roles withint their organizations.

      Oh and why do I disagree with equality? While I strong encourage people to interact and take part in sharing the words of God and other functions of the churches, I think the NT actually have elders such as bishop, teachers, apostles, miracle performers, prophets, and so on.

      Obviously we can't be all equal, it depends on the biblical understanding of the person. We can't let everyone saying things and make them equally true, otherwise outsiders will inflitrate into your rank over the year and their "equality true" heresy and wrong ideas will lead the group astray.

      This is how you guys may being deceived back into institutions if you allow that to happen.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      I'm familiar with house churches and you've done a good job of pointing out some of the great benefits.

      We do have Scriptural basis for having a pastor/teacher/learned leader, but I completely understand that the experiences some people have had with (a) weak leaders and all the problems that go with their behavior, and (b) self-serving, arrogant leaders and all the problems that go with their behavior (each one otherwise known as unscriptural leaders), have driven them from modern churches.

      There is no perfect group of people anywhere in any kind of organization, including any kind of church, but perfect is not what you expect to be in this life, is it? :) Our goal is to know the Word so we can worship and serve God according to His plan, and thereby enjoy His merciful promises which cannot fail.

      I'm glad your hubs are open for mature discussions, but it is clear that some of what these comments state is misguided at best, and insidious at their worst. Some of these poor people do not see that they are trapped in the blindness spoken of in Proverbs 4, mainly because they do not want to see. Oh that they would have a heart to know God's Word!

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Always nice to see you, James! Glad you liked the hub.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      I think a housechurch is a great idea. I have been to almost every kind of church and I enjoyed the services at every one of them, albeit in different ways. Whatever works for you is best. It is important to worship and have fellowship. If a housechurch is the best place for you to find these twin pillars of the Christian Faith, so be it. Excellent article!

    • viveresperando profile image


      7 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      Very lovely, I love the idea of housechurch. :)

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for reading disappearinghead, and I hope you find a likeminded housechurch.

    • Disappearinghead profile image


      7 years ago from Wales, UK

      I have been considering looking for a house church since leaving a Pentecostal church 2 years ago. I have to agree with much of what you say about institionalised churches.

      For the most part it seems to me that people are not interested in self study or debate, and they actually fear questioning of their or the Church's doctrines. So it is easier for them to pay for a man to interpret God and the bible on their behalf and tell them what it means in accordance with the accept party line doctrines.

      This was not the Church that Jesus started. He set up an informal group of friends in a loose network. Rome simply didn't trust people to wokr out their faith for themselves.

      Ho hum. Good hub and I support you.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      7 years ago from Ottawa


      I don't mind at all. The way to start I guess is by saying the word atheism means one thing only, a lack of belief in gods. It tells you nothing about what a person does believe, if anything.

      So for some it is hard to understand how an atheist can have a religion. Not all want one, of course. Even for some atheists the idea of having a religion seems contradictory. But it isn't.

      A lot of eastern religions are full of ritual and religious or numinous thought and feeling. Confucianism is considered a religion, but it is really a world view or set of guides geared toward self improvement. Zen Buddhism has no god, but teaches morality and how to resolve paradox.

      Pantheism is like Brahmanism in that we say that there is nothing but god. But no, it is not a conscious god. In fact many people prefer not to use the word god. I prefer saying there is nothing but the process of existence. And of course that process is the definition of god. We are all part of that process.

      So it all depends on your definition of god. If god is that which produced all things, then you still aren't done. I can prove a god exists on those terms. But the proof doesn't tell us whether that god is a being or a process. Pantheism says it is THE process.

      But now take a careful look at what it means to say: There is nothing but god. It means all things/people are of equal objective value. Nothing lower and nothing higher. By most theistic definitions a god is above all else. If nothing is above or below anything because it is all god, then there is no god.

      Even the Catholic Church has put out a paper on their web site stating that in their opinion Pantheism is atheism.

      After all, if everything is divine then the word loses it's meaning in a theological sense. In theology for something to be god there have to be things that are not god. For there to be something divine there has to be something that is not divine.

      So the only true monotheist religion, Pantheism, can prove god exists and then kills him. Metaphorically, of course. Notice I said him. To a Pantheist it has no gender.

      So, how do we come to our world view? In eastern philosophy there has always been a theory of the connection between all things. Before I studied physics I felt that connection and been part of my personal view, right or wrong. But I had no way to prove it.

      Science, however, shows that intimate connection to all things in almost every field. But no science shows it more than physics. The energy that we are is never destroyed. Nor was it created. We are a form of energy. All things are made up of the same substance indifferent forms. It is the nature of energy to transform. No need to go into detail here. It's another long post.

      Death is the end of the ego or "I". But it is not the end of what we are. We don't believe in a soul and we don't believe in an after life as a conscious being. But what we do in life goes on for ever in the chains of cause and effect that we produce and alter throughout our lives, as well as in the memories loved ones have of us. We do not go back to nature when we die, as some have suggested, we never left nature.

      Christians talk about a relationship with god. A Pantheist feels a relationship with the totality we are part of. To me, Christians mistake that feeling for a separate conscious being. We are part of the totality and part of the process. How close can you get?

      Current Pantheism bases it's views on fundamental science. It is science philosophy, if you will.

      Anyway, I have done a few hubs on this subject. But if you have any more questions I'll be happy to answer them here.

      You are still free to delete these. ;)

      I think I agree with Tomas Cahill. Not so much the part about the Jews not being interested in an after life, but about reacting to each other. I think the entire Noah story as told by Enoch is a reaction to the Jew's Sumerian and Babylonian roots. Their gods reduced to angels, falling from god's grace after coming to earth and mixing with man and teaching us things like how to apply makeup and make weapons.

      Don't forget that the Jews believed in the underworld. A kind of eternal purgatory. Not a hell, but certainly not a heaven. So did the Sumerian, Babylonians and Greeks. But his theory is still interesting.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Slarty - Way too interesting to delete!

      I also think that Christianity is becoming more like it was in the beginning, as it ceases to be a large institution, and becomes many groups. I think this serves people better, since they can find a group that suits their temperment, and how they connect to God.

      So I am a little curious, if you don't mind, about your experience as a pantheist. Pantheism is said to be compatible with atheism (which means without god), though pantheism sees god everywhere. I believe I remember you commenting maybe on the forum that you had an experience of god as the totality. Would this experience be of god as a "force of nature" for lack of a better term, be different from the Christian experience of God as a conscious being? I think most Christians view God as having what we might call a personality. A Christian interacting with God behaves in some ways like they are interacting with another human. (Obviously it's not exactly the same, b/c God can't be seen, and doesn't have the limitations of a human.) But what I am saying is that I think a Christian behaves as if God is a person. Would this be very different from a pantheist then?

      The Jews also did not take an interest in the afterlife, but focused on this one. (My sense is that this was the most true for the very ancient Jews, and by Jesus time some interest in another life was stirring in Judaism. I base this on hints in the Gospels, not really solid information. There was at least one solid faction that denied any life after death, and also the existance of angels. The fact that these were a faction speaks to people with opposing ideas.)-But I started that all to say that Tomas Cahill, author of the Hinges of History series, theorized that the Jewish disinterest in an afterlife might come from their time in Egypt, with it's intense cult of the dead. Which I think is an interesting theory, and points to how religions are prone to react to each other, look to fill in gaps of another religion.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      7 years ago from Ottawa

      To Friendoftruth

      China has changed drastically over the last years. There are Christians there and they don't fear for their lives. It is not illegal. It has been there since the 7th century. House churches are not condoned because communist governments like to make sure no one is trying to organize to challenge them. But there are an estimated 2 million practicing Christians there. There have only occasionally been crack downs on home church's, but you aren't supposed to organize anything that isn't government approved. So it isn't specifically churches.

      To Apostle Jack:

      Guess you aren't much of a Christian or don't know much about it. AS the article says, the original Christians met in the homes. They were usually organized by the woman. If someone could read they would read passages from different books. Some that are in the bible now and some that are not.

      The religion was organized by Rome mostly against the wishes of the people who first practiced it. Your religion is mostly based on what Paul had to say because he, being of a Roman father, captured Roman sensibility.

      Many of the 400 books people were using back then were outlawed.

      You are a Christian in name only. You can not know what your religion was like before Rome. You take a Roman bible as the word of god. I have to laugh at you telling some one else they belong to a cult. You belong to one yourself. lol....

      To Grace:

      Good hub, as usual. ;)

      The word cult was not always a bad word, by the way. Being a teacher you probably know that.

      However, when you are in a homechurch there is always the possibility of it becoming a fanatical cult. I'm certainly not saying yours is nor that many are in the moderate Christian world. But the Fundamentalists have a habit these days of saying they have a relationship with Jesus and denying they are part of a religion. Yet Born Again's often congregate in homechurchs. We have examples of several that have gone wrong. Jim Jones didn't do home church until he built his village in the jungle. David Koresh built a compound to house his version of a home church. And what about that group that castrated themselves, then killed themselves, because they thought aliens/angels were coming to take them to heaven on Halie's comet?

      That's what people now see as a cult.

      I think the problem for most people is not that they don't trust people who they go to church with, they don't trust anyone. Like the Chinese government, people tend to fear what they don't know about. You say you are doing nothing out of the ordinary, but how do others know?

      An organized church is relatively safe. Certainly the big ones are. Everyone knows what they are about, more or less. The organizers are held accountable for what they teach. As you say, they have to go to school to learn how to be a priest. There is a control mechanism in place.

      So it is little wonder that home churches these days might be suspect. If there a charismatic individual emerges from them, often strange things happen. ;)

      I'm of two minds about all this. To me there is nothing like looking for and finding truth on your own. There is something to be said for reinventing the wheel, so to speak.

      Often I form hypothesis about life myself and come to discoveries I think are great. Then I read up on what other have said on the subject. Often I find my original idea has already been explored by various sciences or philosophical schools of thought. But find great value in having discovered their answers myself, rather than having been taught their thoughts or having read them first.

      I also like to exchange ideas. You can't do that in an organized church. If an individual is looking for truth, they have to study. Churches are for people who don't want to have to think much about it all. Someone knows and that's good enough for them. They just want to get on with life. They may have their own convictions, of course. But the church protects those convictions for them. They have a solid base.

      A person looking for answers can not afford a solid base. They have to be open.

      On the other hand, the Romans standardized the church for a reason. That reason being they wanted to keep the religion "pure". That is to say, they did not want people teaching heresy. Again, we can see the dangers of that in the examples I mentioned above.

      The list of heretics the church crushed is long. There was one on France in the 1200s CE. It was put down by Bernardo Guy, a master requisitioner. He wrote the book, in fact. They were the Beguin.(I think that's the right spelling.) They believed that every human born stole from god's light and therefore diminished him. They had no children and often committed suicide or even murder to give back god his light. They were evangelists, so were winning converts. Bernardo put a stop to it. One might say he had a reason to.

      The churches stance on this was that there was but one truth and they had it. You can't allow just anyone to preach what ever they like. There would soon be no organization, and truth would be lost.

      No organization means no power. Small pockets of people doing their own thing have no say in politics or the way their lives are run. God wants us all to live a certain way, and if we do we will all be alright. If not we have chaos and god will not be pleased.

      In a sense, present day Christianity is becoming more like the original Christianity, but with a standardized Roman text. I don't think you missed much, though some of the more gnostic texts are rather interesting. Like the Mormons, it isn't hard for people to come up with new ones as time goes by.

      But more and more no one will be able to tell what Christianity really is all about, exactly because it is no longer standardized.

      This has gotten long. Sorry. But I want to illustrate a point here. In the 1990s I helped set up a new religion. Actually it is an old religion but we wanted to standardize it. The reason we wanted to standardize it was because it was our world view. We started the World Pantheist Movement.

      Pantheism is the oldest religion in the world. It is also the most monotheistic religion in the world. Our view is that there is nothing but god. To put it another way, god is the process of existence.

      However, there are various ideas concerning this. Other Pantheists say god is part of everything, rather than all things together.

      The thing about Pantheism was, there was no organization. The religion was full of people who all called themselves Pantheist but had all manner of ideas that didn't match ours. They did not want to organize, and were actually against it. They didn't want to spread the religion either. They were content with having a personal world view that would die with them.

      We respected that, but we wanted to build a fellowship. We wanted to tell people there were others out there like them, with the same feeling of connection to the totality. People do not convert to Pantheism, they find their own world view in it or they do not.

      So we did exactly that, and our brand of Pantheism is growing. The others are no longer calling themselves Pantheist. They are calling themselves Panentheists. That means they may have all manner of beliefs in the supernatural as well as a Pantheistic view.

      All of this happened naturally over time, of course. But it has only been 20 years and already Pantheism is a standardized atheistic world view now, as it was at various times in it's history.

      Having lived this process I can see how the Church in Rome felt about standardization. Of course there is one big difference. We do not expect the entire population of the world to convert or die. Like all Pantheists we are not out to convert anyone and we have no salvation to sell. But for the benefit of our own lives we can conduct our own celebrations for births and marriages and even burials, in away that is meaningful to us. Our churches are usually outdoors, but I have heard of groups of people congregating at people's homes.

      Anyway, that's enough for now. Feel free to delete me if this is too long.

    • FriendofTruth profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      You are not forsaking the assembling of the brethren, you are growing in the LORD, you are seeking truth and the kingdom of God, you are trying to be faithful with what He has given you, you have relationship with Him...

      Be encouraged and remember offences will come.

      In the future, housechurches may become the norm for Christians, look at China where people have to hide their faith and meet anywhere they can to be safe.

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 

      7 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      Yea,sounds pretty shady to me.If it looks like a duck.?


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