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Questions about Home Churches


xDreamerx
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I know the Duggars do it and other fundies, but my question is what do they actually do there? Is there a structure or set up, a way of ordering things? Has anyone here ever been to one? What was it like?

 

I went to church growing up but it was different. Until you took Confirmation, you left services and went to the Sunday School room where you did a prayer, your own collection, some songs and then usually a lesson or craft that had been dumbed down for kids. When I got a little older (maybe First Communion age) I moved up to the older Sunday School group where we did these booklets. You would read a bible passage and then answer questions, like you would with literature or reading comprehension, only with a heavy dose of Jesus. Then we shared our answers and talked about what the passage meant etc.

 

What do they do in home church? Do they really expect the kids to learn anything? Is ATI home church kind of its own boat of crazy?

Edited by OnceUponATime
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A lot of people home church for different reasons. A friend of mine in Tennessee is part of a home church because she can't find a church in her area that's liberal enough! The services they do are like Bible study sessions with some singing. I think it will vary a lot, because I suspect that like with homeschooling, people home church so that they don't have to follow a particular structure.

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I have wondered myself. From what I have seen it is because few preachers are extreme enough so they have to do it themselves. Plus since no one is watching it is easier to get away with nasties.

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I don't know if this is the kind of home church you were asking about, but I was watching the PBS special on the Amish that aired this week (and I highly recommend it), and they do home church. They rotate from home to home, clear out all of the furniture, set up pews, and run it like a "normal" church service from what I could tell (hymns, prayer, sermon, etc. I grew up in a close knit Lutheran church and am now a Mormon, so I don't have any personal experience with home churching.

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I know the Duggars do it and other fundies, but my question is what do they actually do there? Is there a structure or set up, a way of ordering things? Has anyone here ever been to one? What was it like?

What do they do in home church? Do they really expect the kids to learn anything? Is ATI home church kind of its own boat of crazy?

I've never been to one, but have had various friends who home churched. I think you find a wide range of what constitutes "doing church."

One friend fellowshipped with other families, with a paid pastor and an informal order of worship, but instead of having a building, they met in each others' homes. So that was like traditional church but in a home.

At the other end of the spectrum, I've had friends whose home church consisted of the dad saying, "Hey, it's time for church. I'm gonna pray and then y'all go to your rooms and read the Bible." And the kids admitted that even that happened only occasionally.

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All home churches are different. Some are liberal Christians who think regular churches are too conservative. Some are Conservative who think churches are too liberal. Others are due only to the fact that they have nontraditional beliefs (nontrinitarians, soul sleep, annihilationsim) and fit in nowhere else. Fundie Home Church is set up I believe like a Baptist service as far as structure is concerned. I agree with doggie that one reason they do it is so they don't get in trouble about teaching controversial lessons. Also, they can be very selective about the congregation...pretty much they have to be invited. It's very controlled.

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All home churches are different. Some are liberal Christians who think regular churches are too conservative. Some are Conservative who think churches are too liberal. Others are due only to the fact that they have nontraditional beliefs (nontrinitarians, soul sleep, annihilationsim) and fit in nowhere else. Fundie Home Church is set up I believe like a Baptist service as far as structure is concerned. I agree with doggie that one reason they do it is so they don't get in trouble about teaching controversial lessons. Also, they can be very selective about the congregation...pretty much they have to be invited. It's very controlled.

Is soul sleep really that controversial? I know quite a lot of mainstream Christians who believe it, myself included, but then we're in the Anglican church which is very, uh, flexible lol.

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Is soul sleep really that controversial? I know quite a lot of mainstream Christians who believe it, myself included, but then we're in the Anglican church which is very, uh, flexible lol.

soul sleep as in what happens after a Christian dies, but before the tribulation?

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All home churches are different. Some are liberal Christians who think regular churches are too conservative. Some are Conservative who think churches are too liberal. Others are due only to the fact that they have nontraditional beliefs (nontrinitarians, soul sleep, annihilationsim) and fit in nowhere else. Fundie Home Church is set up I believe like a Baptist service as far as structure is concerned. I agree with doggie that one reason they do it is so they don't get in trouble about teaching controversial lessons. Also, they can be very selective about the congregation...pretty much they have to be invited. It's very controlled.

Soul sleep and annihilastionsim are new ones for me so I googled them. Just....wow :?

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soul sleep as in what happens after a Christian dies, but before the tribulation?

Yes - basically that you don't go to Heaven when you die but your soul 'sleeps' until the raising of the dead and the New Earth is created, and that what most people of think as being Heaven (as in, being with God after death in this awesome place) is actually the New Earth in Scripture. There's so much disagreement between Christians on what exactly happens between death and the raising of the dead (including things to do with the tribulation) that most denominations surely allow for some difference of opinion.

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A Quaker ex-boyfriend of mine also attends a small home church on Sunday afternoons. It's a very liberal, social justice-oriented group, and the loosely-structured services include singing, group prayer, and discussions of current social issues. Some of the members (like my ex) also attend other liberal churches (Friends, UCC, Unitarians, etc.), while others only attend the home church. They're an interesting bunch.

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Is soul sleep really that controversial? I know quite a lot of mainstream Christians who believe it, myself included, but then we're in the Anglican church which is very, uh, flexible lol.

I actually believe in it, too. It's definitely controversial for Catholics (well, you can't really be one if you believe in that I suppose). It's really not controversial, moreso annoying and if someone has that belief in addition to other nontraditional beliefs (like myself), it can get downright problematic. I don't go to church at all because I believe in soul sleep and annihilationism. No church I have gone to embrace these. They go about "you don't want to go to hell, do you?" or how certain people will burn in hell forever and other people are watching down over us. It's all the total opposite of what I believe. The idea of attending a liberal house church is actually appealing to me but none of those exist around here either.

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I actually believe in it, too. It's definitely controversial for Catholics (well, you can't really be one if you believe in that I suppose). It's really not controversial, moreso annoying and if someone has that belief in addition to other nontraditional beliefs (like myself), it can get downright problematic. I don't go to church at all because I believe in soul sleep and annihilationism. No church I have gone to embrace these. They go about "you don't want to go to hell, do you?" or how certain people will burn in hell forever and other people are watching down over us. It's all the total opposite of what I believe. The idea of attending a liberal house church is actually appealing to me but none of those exist around here either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_ ... ian_groups

Soul sleep actually appears to be relatively common for a minority belief. I know annihilationism has a small following within the Anglican church thanks to John Stott as well as Jehovah's Witnesses and other Millerite groups. I think I probably lean that way considering I don't believe in the immortality of the soul. You could maybe try a liberal Episcopal church?

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Mormons believe in something similar called the spirit world/spirit prison where all departed souls will reside until Christ comes again. Believers get to continue their spiritual journey like they did while alive on Earth, and non-believers have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and decide if they believe it or not.

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A dichotomy that I find about the Resurrection,is that in one Gospel Christ tells the thief today you will be with me in Paradise, saying, when you die you go straight to the heavenly gates without passing go. Then the belief that you will rise with the Returned Christ and stand before the Judgement throne. Then the common belief that Christ died on Friday, descended into hell, and then rose on the third day in a non corporeal state till his Assumption into paradise.

Makes me so confused. I asked my Pastor and he said, throw them in the air. There are as many views on this as there are stars in the sky. A wise man.

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I wasn't really meaning home church like the Amish, Quakers, or other liberal groups. I was meaning the whack-job fundie phenomenon and those people who think Sunday School is "darwinian" or some such craziness.

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A dichotomy that I find about the Resurrection,is that in one Gospel Christ tells the thief today you will be with me in Paradise, saying, when you die you go straight to the heavenly gates without passing go. Then the belief that you will rise with the Returned Christ and stand before the Judgement throne. Then the common belief that Christ died on Friday, descended into hell, and then rose on the third day in a non corporeal state till his Assumption into paradise.

Makes me so confused. I asked my Pastor and he said, throw them in the air. There are as many views on this as there are stars in the sky. A wise man.

Me, personally, I take soul sleep to mean that you're not actually aware of the sleep and so the next thing the thief will be aware of is the Judgement Throne *in* Paradise ie the New Earth. Whether or not Jesus went to Hell is not addressed directly in the Bible...in the Apostle's creed it says 'He descended to the dead' which makes me think of a Sheol-type place instead of the popular idea of Hell, which might fit in with annihilationism. The Gospels make it clear that Jesus was definitely corporeal until the Assumption.

I don't think the precise ins and outs of it matter too much though.

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I went to a home church a few times with a friend. The group now meets at a community center is is saving up for a building, which is what many of them end up doing. They started out pretty normal for fundie Baptists but some of the main families brought in some weird ideas from Charity Ministries and Messianic type grows - it started weirding me out so I backed away.

In the beginning, it was like a regular service. It rotated between a few houses. We'd meet, open in prayer, sing a few hymns, then one of the men (they had a pastor/leader and 2 elders who were more like associate pastors) would preach. Afterward there was a meal - sometimes the host family would cook and sometimes other people would bring a dish - with Bible study following for those who wanted to stay. As it got stranger, there was less in person preaching and more listening to messages on CD or video, they phased out much of the music in favor of hymns, decided that women shouldn't speak up or contribute in the Bible study, and moved to church meetings on both Saturday and Sunday.

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fs,

I think you are right about descent into a Sheol type place, from the standpoint of the apostles' creed. The apostles' creed in greek says that Jesus went "katoteta". That literally means the place underneath, or underworld. Very different word from hell. The eastern orthodox church teaches that the reason Jesus goes to the underworld is to redeem Adam and Eve and all the souls since the beginning of the world and "wake them up", in other words, reunite them with God. They weren't suffering, just "asleep". Lots of different views from all churches as to the exact mechanics and timetable.

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fs,

I think you are right about descent into a Sheol type place, from the standpoint of the apostles' creed. The apostles' creed in greek says that Jesus went "katoteta". That literally means the place underneath, or underworld. Very different word from hell. The eastern orthodox church teaches that the reason Jesus goes to the underworld is to redeem Adam and Eve and all the souls since the beginning of the world and "wake them up", in other words, reunite them with God. They weren't suffering, just "asleep". Lots of different views from all churches as to the exact mechanics and timetable.

That sounds interesting, and certainly fits in (IMO) with the mentions of Sheol in the Old Testament.

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We home church, have been for a few months now. Our reasoning is that we as a group just all have had our own issues with established churches and hesitation for "joining" one. I personally find it silly that you have to do so much to join churches nowadays and that everything is so based on acts, functions, etc. Don't get me wrong, I grew up in church and was baptized in one, but as time has passed this has been a much better option, it is more personal and open. There is a group of about 9 of us, the kids stay in the room but since they are all babies, they are just kind of there lol, but the atmosphere is what is important to us. I guess we are on the more liberal spectrum of what y'all are talking about, it is very casual, and we also do a Bible study during the week. It works for us pretty well.

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We home church, have been for a few months now. Our reasoning is that we as a group just all have had our own issues with established churches and hesitation for "joining" one. I personally find it silly that you have to do so much to join churches nowadays and that everything is so based on acts, functions, etc. Don't get me wrong, I grew up in church and was baptized in one, but as time has passed this has been a much better option, it is more personal and open. There is a group of about 9 of us, the kids stay in the room but since they are all babies, they are just kind of there lol, but the atmosphere is what is important to us. I guess we are on the more liberal spectrum of what y'all are talking about, it is very casual, and we also do a Bible study during the week. It works for us pretty well.

What do you mean by things required to join churches? I've not come across that before so I'm curious.

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What do you mean by things required to join churches? I've not come across that before so I'm curious.

Well in my experience, dependent on the denomination, you have to do things like classes and all of these seminars once you decide to "join" a church. The church we went to for years required members to go to 4 "discipleship" classes and you had to pay for the books and worksheets that they used. Then you had to go through a ceremony and go up on stage and tell your story blah blah and get a certificate. This was not a fundy church but your regular non denominational one so this was surprising for me to see. But I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with that idea, not to mention that they require you to join a home group that basically is there to call you and keep track of you to keep you "accountable". That may be a little less common, but the classes and seminars are something I saw ALL the time in the churches we attended before breaking away and doing HC instead.

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I've been to churches that require extensive membership classes before allowing you to join. Even though my father had been attending with my mom and sisters and I as a family for years, when he officially wanted to join our ELCA church he had to take a membership course before being allowed to be baptized/confirmed.

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