Review: The House Church Book

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From Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: BarnaBooks (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414325525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414325521
  • In a world where the church is being ignored, it is time to bring the church to the people, and not the people to the church, says researcher and church strategy consultant Wolfgang Simson. His book Houses that Change the World (originally published in the UK) is widely recognized as a classic of the house church movement. Now revised as The House Church Book, this definitive work offers a comprehensive understanding of the past, present, and future of the house church movement—and the vital role of “ordinary” people in saturating the world with God’s truth.

This is, regardless of your view on institutional churches, an essential tool of taking the Gospel to the lost. Simson makes the point that so often people seek to bring others to the church, not forget to take the church to the house. While the author makes valid points, his sketch of history of the Western Church, and his silence on the East might leave some tuning him out. He makes his point from Scripture with a small number of passages, glossing over what should have been his foundation. Further, his ‘five-fold’ ministry, while not un-scriptural, is not supported by the Scripture (I think here of his separation of pastor and teacher into two positions). These are his weakest points.

He writes in a conversational style which moves the book along with an easy flow. He takes the position, perhaps subconsciously, of an evangelical prophet who sees great wrong in the institutional church, and attempts to show a strategy around the barriers that the four walls of a traditional Sunday morning meeting house has given Christianity. In doing so, he makes valid points that it is often times a difficult stretch to get people of other faiths to come to a church house, but more often than not, people are more willing to gather around a dinner table. He charts a visionary journey and pattern of how a house church should develop, exploring the differences between his system and the congregational/denominational church, the differences between the house church and the cell church system that has become widely popular. These are his most powerful points, in that he has a drive to see Christ brought to the masses.

I believe that this book is suitable for those in the mission field, perhaps even areas of persecution against Christians. Further, even in the West, which has become inoculated against real Christianity, people can gain a lot from this book, but they must read it for what it is – a good suggestion from a person who is eager to do Christian work. There are inherent dangers in breaking down the structure of the modern church, but there too are great benefits in a change of operation.

I want to thank Tyndale Publishers for this review copy.

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