Andrew wrote this as a comment to an earlier post. I love comments that shake us up and keep forcing us to THINK and RE-THINK. It is our western mindset that keeps wanting to take what God is doing and form a box around it. The result is never life in the Spirit.
We have an obsession for form. We find some new truth and we quickly create a form. In the past 41 years I have experienced every form possible, all of which is designed to replace the life and power of God. Today it is the house church form. Everyone is seeking some aspect of the New Testament to restore the church.
The Charismatic movement sought to restore the power. The discipleship movement sought to restore accountability to one another. The restoration movement sought to restore the 5 fold ministry. The Jesus movement sought to restore community and people living together and having all things common. Though all of these have there place in the NT, they do not come from life. All of these are from the knowledge of right and wrong (good and evil), correct and incorrect theology. We are stuck in the higher information mode and losing the life mode.
If there is a method in the NT church, it would be one based on life: humility, brokenness, love and faith.
Paul didn’t build house churches; he built the church in the city. He built a Jesus movement. He built unity. He built leadership and fellowship.
All of what I see today is only the American form of religion using different forms and arrogantly believing they are on the NT cutting edge. Go to a house church convention, it is no different than the institutional conventions. They have their big names, their book sellers, their graduates, their icons. Do you think they would let you through in your 2 cents? Do they recognize other leaders besides their little click of convention speakers? Every movement I have participated in the past 41 years and 30 years of that as a pastor and 6 years as a house church elder, has only shown me the same pattern. Clergy on one side and laity on the other.
We need unity (church in the city), we need leadership coming together (not conventions), we need the recognition of one another and we need to drop our names so we can meet in His name. We have named our organizations, and that is all they are… our organizations. Then we ask God to bless our 501c3, corporation.
Wake up Laodicea, shake your grave clothes and meet in humility calling on God to make us one. Let’s stop looking at what we are doing and let’s come together and hear what the “Unknowns” are saying; those who are not writhing books and are not a part of the spiritual elite.
I print this despite the fact that we are working hard on a "house church conference." Fortunately, not all "speakers", whether in institutional conferences or house church conferences, are looking to sell books or be in "the click." In fact, the very, very first thing I noticed when attending the House 2 House conference in Dallas two years ago was how UNLIKE these people were compared to christianese conferences I have been to before-- lack of pretense, no one trying to put themselves forward as "the spokesperson," etc. Nevertheless, the danger is always there and Andrew's challenges are worthwhile. We are, and must always be, a Jesus movement. Period.