When did formal church buildings begin to replace home churches?
History tells us that Constantine’s contributions to Christianity were many, including the following:
- Changing the informal home to formal church building.22
- Changing the seventh day Sabbath to first day Sunday worship.23
- Changing the lay-leadership to professionalized priests and clergy.24
In his fascinating documentary The 7th Day Sabbath, Hal Holbrook chronicles the history of Sabbath and how church traditions politics and persecution has attempted to stamp out the biblical Sabbath. This will open your eyes both historically and biblically.
Simple Church takes the Bible seriously and is going back to this early expression of Christianity: lay-leadership, in homes, and on the 7th day Sabbath.
Wolfgang Simpson, in this video, says we should “come back to the Book…come back to original Christianity.”
One common misunderstanding – The history of church
Since history records that persecution has often led to house church development, it is tempting to think that New Testament house churches were the result of persecution. This is a misunderstanding.
Early Christian house churches were patterned after house synagogues, which were numerous. Christians took a low-cost and easy-to-multiply model and adapted it to their new Christian context, and Christian house churches were born.
Also, the Communion service, sometime called the Lord’s Supper, was uniquely Christian. It did not apply to Jews and therefore did not fit in the Jewish synagogues. So this special meal, which originally happened in a home and as part of a full meal, has to be celebrated somewhere else. House churches were the natural place for communion to be shared.
As history went on, Christians became banned from Jewish synagogues as persecution intensified.
Although house churches flourish in times of persecution, they were well established before the persecution of Christians.