Opposition To The House Church Movement

It has been 10 years since we offered the first house church seminar for pastors. The house church movement is spreading rapidly, and has now started to experience opposition, especially in Korea.

The anti-house church sentiment is strongest among conservative Presbyterian churches in Korea. Some church leaders oppose it because they think that the house church system belongs to Baptists churches. Other leaders oppose the house churches as being a congregational system, which is contrary to the Presbyterian system of elders. Lively discussions are being carried out on synod and denominational levels.

It is fortunate that discussions like these are beginning now, and not earlier. If these heated discussions had started a couple of years ago, they might have turned into an ideological argument, dividing participants into to camps pro and con. But at present, there are enough healthy house churches across different denominations that, instead of engaging in theoretical arguments, we can point to such churches to show that their concerns and apprehensions are groundless.

The house church does not destroy denominational uniqueness, but rather enhances it. We are pursuing the original New Testament church, which might be called the prototype church. Prototype churches are like stem cells that develop into heart, liver, or muscle cells. Healthy house churches will become healthy Presbyterian churches, healthy Methodist churches, healthy Pentecostal churches and healthy Baptist churches.

To emphasize this point, we recently changed Article 6 of the House Church Manifesto. It now states: “We do not pursue small groups or cell churches, but New Testament prototypical churches.”

Church renewal movements cannot succeed unless they are accepted by denominational leaders. So we appointed two people to be mediators between denominational leaders and pastors of house churches. They will explain the house church system to denominational leaders to alleviate their suspicions, eliminate misunderstandings, and serve as spokesmen for house church pastors.

Rev. Hoon Kim belongs to one of the conservative Presbyterian denominations. He served as President of their National Convention. He is popular among pastors in his denomination because of his outgoing and friendly personality. He has already served as an unofficial spokesman for the house church movement in his denomination.

Rev. Eun Jo Park belongs to another major Presbyterian denomination. He has successfully converted his 2000+ member church to house churches. He is well respected not only by his denominational leaders but all Christian leaders, regardless of their denominational affiliations.

I am grateful these two great pastors have agreed to serve as mediators.

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