Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday's hot topics - Public vs. Private church

Most of us in the West are used to public church meetings, buildings and freedom to gather as we like. There are big churches, little churches and even The church of elvis. So many churches that it's tough to remember a time when church wasn't public.

In early Christianity however public church was all but impossible without imprisonment, beatings and martyrdom. The Roman Empire tried to snuff out the light any way it could. Back then church had to be underground, secret and could cost you your life. There are modern day examples, like China, where the underground church is growing at tremendous cost.

Seeing this, how do we in the West who have the freedom balance public vs private church meetings? Should we go back to early Christianity and go underground? Or should we use our freedom and meet only in public?

On the forum pherwxristosposted his thoughts on the matter:
Having spent some years in the house church movement and appreciating the advantages of an intimate venue, I'm trying to figure out a way to balance out the emphasis on meeting "in public" (which here i mean at the chapel building) and "from house to house." I think the early church in Jerusalem met in public (various courts at the Temple) and also met to break bread in their homes. I think the earliest church(es) in Ephesus also clearly (from Acts) met in public (lecture hall of Tyranus?) and "from house to house."
So what do you think? How do we strike the balance? Should we go back to house church only? Should we go underground? Or use our freedom to have public meetings and buildings? Post your thoughts in the comments below or on the forum - here

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