This book is exploring the concept of the house churches movement(or simple church movement).Theologically(and much to my surprise) I wasn’t as against what they talked about as I thought I would be. They have an extreme charismatic view on the filling of the Holy Spirit(their personal view, not necessarily the view of those in house churches), and give a nod to such things as holy laughter, which are not expressions of the Spirit found in scripture.
They attempt to address some of the big issues I have with house churches, such as accountability, and keeping sound theology, and I found their responses somewhat lacking. They basically report to saying the leader of the group will lead wild statements back to sound ground. Experience has shown, MOST leaders of small groups don’t do that.They also fail to address verses such as “don’t neglect meeting together…” the church history of getting together in bigger “units”. Yes, the New testament church started in homes, but it went beyond that... They also fail to explore the role of pastor/teacher and the work of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry adequately. Their strongest point is that a simple church allows more participation, and I heartily agree on the strength of that point, they also point out the churches expect pastors to fulfill many functions(delegate, lead, administrate, teach, do visitation, preach, cast vision, serve, etc, etc) all with high degrees of excellence, and points out the folly of such expectations, no one has all the gifts and skills, so simple church seeks to empower the people to do that. I agree, BUT it seems to lack the equipping aspect.
It is hard to argue though with their points of bringing church to where the people are, rather than trying to bring people to the church. The great commission does say “GO”, not “invite them to your church meeting”.They explore the ins and outs of simple church, and have strong use of scripture for most of them.
I am not convinced house churches are the way to go, HOWEVER this book has given me a LOT of things to consider, much more than most books have, so it gets a HIGH recommendation on that basis!
This book was provided as a complimentary copy by Tyndale Publishers, for an honest review of this title.