This short excerpt of the longer book preview of the new book by Victor Choudhrie calls for us to consider the validity of house churches as a model for Church meetings today. What a radical thought if each house church acted as a discipleship centre that is focused on sending out missionaries and disciples into the surrounding society. Christianity only will grow and expand with force and a choice of sacrifice.
THE TASK OF THE CHURCH IS TO WORSHIP GOD THROUGH DISCIPLING THE NATIONS:
The Hindu fundamentalists have 75,000 training centers where they make disciples by the thousands. The Muslims have 300,000 schools called Madrassas, where, among other things, they indoctrinate the young about “Jihad” or the holy war against infidels like the Christians. Making disciples is, in fact, the mandate and the mission of the church. It is her raison d’ etre or the reason for her existence. The enemy is already doing what the church is supposed to be doing. This is why the task of discipling the nations still remains and the Lord Jesus is not able to return. (Matt.28:18-20)
VISITOR FROM THE JERUSALEM CHURCH:
Over the centuries, the Temple, the priests and the Sabbath have all crept back. If a first century Christian were to visit today, he would have difficulty in recognizing it as a church. The ornate buildings, the once-a-week Sunday worship, the sermon, the loud music, the institutionalization of the church, regular tithing to sustain the above structures, fund raising drives for projects, would all be unrecognizable by a visitor from NT times. Unfortunately, all of these have become pillars of the New Age church.
LOVE FOR EACH OTHER IS THE BENCHMARK:
Many people believe that the NT churches did not have buildings because they were poor, but that is not the case. Cornelius the centurion, Lydia the seller of purple and the treasurer of Ethiopia were well-off and could have easily built buildings. Nor did persecution stop them from building because persecution was only periodic. The real reason was that the Lord Jesus had given them a new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all people know that you are My disciples because you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). This could only be practiced in an intimate family environment. Hence the house churches.
EXAMPLES OF IMPORTANT EVENTS IN HOUSES IN THE NT:
1.” Jesus taught at Mary and Martha’s house. (Luke 10:38-42) 2.” Jesus healed a paralytic in a house. (Mark 2:1-12) 3.” A 12 year old dead girl was raised in Jairus’ house. (Matt. 9:23-26) 4.” Jesus attended a wedding in Cana in a house. (John 2:1-12) 5.” Jesus ate in the house of Zacchaeus the tax collector, resulting in his repentance. (Luke 19:1-10) 6.” Before His death, Jesus was anointed with perfume by Mary in the house of Lazarus. (John 12: 1-8) 7.” The church prayed all night in the house of Mary for the release of Peter from jail. (Acts 12:5, 12) 8.” Peter went to the house of Cornelius for his first ever meeting in the house of a Gentile. (Acts 10:24) 9. Saul created havoc in the church, entering every house and dragging men and women into prison. (Acts 9:3) 10.”Paul shared the whole counsel of God in public and from house to house. (Acts 20:20, 27) 11.”Paul greets the churches in the houses of Priscilla, Apphia, and Nymphas. (1 Cor. 16:19, Philemon :2; Col 4:15) 12. Paul dwelt for two years in a rented house in Rome and preached openly before he was executed. (Acts 28:30-31) 13.”The first European church was planted in Lydia’s house at Philippi. (Acts 16:15) 14. Jesus served the Lord’s Supper in a house. (Luke 22:11) 15.”The Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, in a house. (Acts 2:1-4)