Since leaving church, I have done a lot of reading about Institutional Church vs. House Church. I am amazed at the plethora of information that is available, and at the numbers of other Christians who have taken the same step that I have in stopping attendance at Church buildings/meetings.
Like so many issues regarding Christian life and practice, there are various opinions around this subject. On the side that would align itself to a move back to a house setting for Christian fellowship and worship I have found several sources that would appear to be sound and solid. I have also come across some ideas and "teachings" that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. There are arguments, both for and against, that appear to have merit.
A tendency I have had, since becoming a Christian, is to want to grab onto some person or doctrine or teaching and make them/it my source of confidence and assurance as I live out my faith each day. Unfailingly, any of these that I latch onto will eventually prove to be fallible, and I realize, once again, that I have created an idol out of them that I have put between myself and God. I know that many can relate to this.
In this day and age of highly visible Preachers and authors, and with so much information readily available in the form of books, blogs, tapes, online articles etc. etc., it is hard to avoid. Yet at the same time, it should only reinforce to us that no one person or denomination has perfect truth. There are arguments that have been going on for centuries around issues of faith and practice, and they will contine until Jesus comes back. The house church issue is just one of many, although a very important one.
I often think back to the time of the early church. When all the believers had was the Holy Spirit, each other, and portions of scripture. I imagine that they had a much easier time of hearing Jesus' voice. They had disagreements, to be sure. But there was nothing to compare to the different camps that we have today in Christendom.
So what to do? How do you know you are on the right track? Do you go with the majority? With the teachers that you respect most? In delving into these things, I know I could dive so deep into the original meaning of Greek words that I might never come up for air as I wrestle with verb tenses and cultural context. I could listen to a hundred messages, and read a dozen books, and still be torn between two sides. I could remain in a state of confused second guessing, immobilized by the reality that by myself I will never know the right steps to take. On my own, with only my own understanding and ingrained presuppositions, I will only ever move in the path of least resistance.
In thinking on these things, I thought of dogs, and how they hear frequencies far beyond what humans are capable of. I found this on the Internet:
(Wegler, Monika. Dogs: How to Take Care of Them and Understand Them. New York: Barrons Educational Series, 1996):
"Dogs hear high tones in particular much better than humans do. Humans can pick up an average of 20,000 acoustic vibrations per second (kHz), whereas a dog is able to perceive between 40,000 and 100,000 vibrations."
I could let myself be in a state of spiritual confusion if I tried to figure it all out on my own. But the glad truth is that, at the end of the day, I hear His voice. I know I am hearing the voice of Jesus. Not in specific words, heard with my ears, or even in my head. It is more as though I am being drawn by a magnet. I stand before a sea of opposing opinion and thought, and He parts it for me, letting me walk across on the solid ground of this knowledge that He is leading me. Like a dog hears frequencies unheard by humans, as with a dog whistle, I hear His voice beckoning me to follow Him. And every time I come to this place in my thinking, remembering it is Him, after all, that I seek, I find peace once more. I will follow Him, and trust Him for all the answers.
He leads each of us, calls each of us that are His. That is our rest, trusting Him alone, seeking Him alone, following Him alone.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;" (John 10:27)