The goal of the House Church movement is to restore the New Testament church. Throughout history, when the church declined and hit bottom, God raised up zealous people to restore the New Testament church. However, the renewed church eventually loses its vigor and restarts a cycle of decline.
Strong church renewal movements exhibit two common characteristics: the people involved are active in evangelism and they expect God’s presence in their lives. Conversely, there are also two common characteristics when these movements lose their power: the people involved lose interest in saving souls and they stop believing in God’s supernatural power.
Every time the church stops believing in God’s supernatural power, it starts to decline. For example, as Higher Criticism (a system of Biblical interpretation that started in the 16th century) became popular, seminary professors and pastors began to see Scripture as merely a human document. They denied the historicity of portions of the Bible that seemed to contradict human reason and scientific findings. As a result, most Christians didn’t believe in God’s supernatural power of God in their lives and the Church started declining.
History also shows that when Christian denominations lose their zeal for evangelism, they shrink. The Presbyterian and Methodists denominations, two of the most active denominations in the U.S. and the sender of many missionaries to Korea, have accepted new liberal theology based on Higher Criticism and have lost interest in evangelism as a result. Now they are increasingly becoming noninfluential, insignificant denominations.
Southern Baptists have remained relatively healthy and have not declined in numbers because they did not accept liberal theology and concentrated on saving souls both here and abroad through Adult Sunday Schools and the International Mission Board. (I have to admit, though, that I’m concerned about the Southern Baptist seminaries’ preoccupation with Predestination, which tends to dampen evangelical zeal.)
The same is true in your personal Christian walk. Christians’ faith is active and strong only when they’re eager to reach non-believers and expect God to answer their prayers. Without this, they become nominal Christians, and their Christian walks become burdens instead of a joy. For this reason, we discourage people from substituting house church ministries with other ministries that aren’t related to saving souls, because when they lose interest in unsaved people, their faith loses power and life.
If we want the House Church to become a new church paradigm for the 21st century, we must not lose sight of the purpose of the church – to reach non-believers and make them disciples of Jesus – and we must expect God to help us in supernatural ways in our everyday lives.
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