Item description for Houses That Change the World: The Return of the House Churches by Wolfgang Simson...
Overview Millions of Christians around the world are becoming aware of an imminent reformation of global proportions within the Church. God is changing this revered institution and is making a new collective awareness of an age-old revelation, a corporate spiritual echo that reflects God's desire for the Church. In this book, Wolfgang Simson brings to light what God is saying to Christians everywhere. Researched across the globe, he presents the case for the reformation of the Church's existence. In a world where the Church is being ignored, it is time to bring the Church to the people, and not the people to the Church. Whether it is what we know as 'Church' from the last five years or last five hundred year, no one has truly been able to break free from the structures of the past. Many may see this book as radical, many may see it as a reforming of old ideals, but all who read it will be challenged in their Churching and have their priorities refocused in a life-changing way.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.46" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.87" Weight: 1.09 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2000
Publisher AUTHENTIC UK
ISBN 185078356X ISBN13 9781850783565
Reviews - What do customers think about Houses that Change the World?
A Book that Changed my Ministry Oct 8, 2008
Wolfgang Simson's book is bound to become a classic in his time. No other book that I have read recently has had a similar impact on my ministry as missionary church planter. It combines intellectual depth and clarity of style with practical genius. As I worked my way through the pages of this volume, I kept asking myself, How could ecclesiastical tradition blind me for so long to the New Testament truths that now -- since reading Houses that Change the World -- have become so obvious? Definitely must reading for anyone brave enough to risk having their practical theology turned upside down. If you're new to the phenomenon of house churches, begin here. Simson covers the most important areas.
A good portrait of and prospectus for massive change in the church Dec 24, 2007
Church growth strategist Wolfgang Simson sends an exciting flotilla of ideas downstream in this seminal (for some) work on God's primordial intent for the nature, function, and structure of the church. In short, he envisions and advocates nothing short of a complete redefinition and transformation of the church worldwide. Not everything he says strikes me as right-on, but the book is nonethless a worthwhile, undoutedly prophetic read. I recommend it to anyone, Christian and non-Christian, who suspects that church-as-we-know-it is not church-as-God-intends-it.
Good but just misses the mark Sep 7, 2007
First of all I need to say that I really do like Wolfgang (and not just because Wolfgang is such a cool name). ;) I like how this guy thinks about a lot of things and there really is some very good insights in this book.
Where I feel he misses the mark a bit is making "house church" THE focus. There is nothing in Scripture or even early Christian history known as "house churching." There is no mention of anyone "starting a house church" or any concept of a "church" being represented by a building of any kind. The early Church simply happened to meet wherever convenient. Sometimes it was in their homes (most frequently in fact), sometimes by riversides, sometimes in the catacombs (when persecution hit), sometimes in Solomon's Porch, etc. The "Church" (New Testament Greek: ecclesia) simply means "assembly" and refers to PEOPLE not buildings or programs. Wolfgang acknowledges this truth, but still makes a bit too much of the house detail in my opinion.
The logic of "house church" is really much the same logic as "institutional church" because both incorrectly define church in connection with a physical place (and place it in a separate category from every day life itself), rather than the simple revelation that the Church is the body of Christ (as Ephesians so plainly says), regardless of where or when meetings may (or may not) occur. In my opinion, to make "house churching" the focus is to actually MISS the focus. Christ (who is the Head of His body - the Church) should be our one united focus - not "doing church" (for you can't "do" what you already "are" in Christ. Anytime we try to compartmentalize and/or define our faith in Jesus and our walk with each other along the path into specialized meetings or meeting places, we cause a division between faith and true fellowship. Please understand, I am not at all suggesting that meetings are wrong and certainly, if we are going to meet at all, it will most often be some "place", but I am talking primarily about defining our faith according to these things. I will admit that the house church model is a much better step in the right direction than institutional churchianity, precisely because it does bring faith much closer to a family paradigm... just not close enough for my taste. ;) Ain't I the picky one? Most of the house churches I have been acquainted with struggle with a lot of the same mindsets and religious tendencies as institutional churches, only on a smaller scale. You still have power struggles, religious organization, and often unbiblical expectations of "qualified" fellowship placed on the group. Granted we all err and some will disagree with my conviction here and so I say thank You Lord for grace and let each one live true to their measure of knowledge, conviction and conscience.
If you can avoid letting this detail distract you, there will be much good to glean from Simpson's work. I sincerely mean no disrespect to my brother in Jesus and I love much of the encouragement found in his 15 theses for church reformation, I simply contend that since the Church is Christ's body it does not need "re-forming" at all and certainly not by another attempt of man (however noble and well-intentioned). I believe strongly that Jesus Christ is building His Church (and His Church is not defective) and if our endeavors (the things we like to title church) don't align with His definition, than we need not re-form anything but rather repent of our dead works, come away from them, and follow only Him. There's nothing to start, nothing to build, nothing to preoccupy with - but simply ONE PERSON to align ourselves with and let the rest of the pieces fall into place.
I think Wolfgang would agree in a large sense with my general conclusion about the biblical nature of the Church and may even believe that this is the primary objective of his writing. I hope so. In any case, good book, encouraging read, and a sincere brother in Christ with some quality insights to share.
there's a lot of good and some questionable bits Jul 18, 2007
The book has its strengths and weaknesses. I will focus on what I believe to be the negatives of the book and then the positives so that the review might end on a positive note. WEAKNESSES: 1. He focuses too much on meeting in houses and not on the purpose behind it. The goal is not to meet in homes; the goal is to love and care for one another. Simply meeting in homes will not accomplish this, though I believe it can help facilitate it. 2. He comes down too hard on large churches. I have been in mega churches where the people are highly relational, hospitable and where they love one another. I have also been to house churches that were relatively "cold" by comparison. It's the love and relationships that make the church more than the structure. 3. He seems anti-authority. He has nothing good to say about "leaders" and his idea of an elder is a nice old man who makes sure that things run smoothly. I wonder if he has actually studied all that the bible has to say on the function of elders/leaders. Verses such as Hebrews 13:17, " Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account." Were strangely absent from his treatment of the subject. 4. He boldly declares that smaller churches are of superior quality to large churches. Having been an active part of both, let me disagree. In a small church, the leadership tends to carry a wide variety of responsibilities like a General Practitioner. A large church has specialists that can focus in one particular area. For instance, say you have a young Christian man struggling with same sex attraction. Sure a home church may love him; a small church will pray for him. But a large church has the people and expertise to run a group specifically for those struggling with that very issue and counsellors who know how to walk someone through such issues. A large church usually has a better air war going (ie teaching/preaching ministry). The author simply does not acknowledge that a large church can be stronger in ANY way compared to a small or house church. I feel like in this respect he simply knocked down a straw opponent. 5. I don't know what he meant by "the gospel is not a series of doctrines," pg 44. he seems to be saying that the gospel is about how you live rather than what doctrines you say or believe. Perhaps I am misunderstanding him, but the gospel actually is a series of doctrines to be believed. 6. A big weakness of the book is a lack of personal examples. After 300 pages I still don't know if the author himself is a member of such a house church. The book could have been greatly enhanced with examples of how these principles have played out in the lives of him and his family. 7. I felt that his treatment of Church history in regards to house churches v. congregational churches was to one sided. Another example of a straw opponent. He says that congregational churches have been "misused by the cults". Yes, but it is also true that the Jehovah's Witnesses started out meeting in homes. STRENGTHS: 1. I strongly agree with the fact that we as the Church I the West need to focus much more on our homes than on our Church buildings. As good as the preaching at some churches may be, without an effective ground war to fulfil all the "one another" verses of the New Testament, the church will not accomplish its God given mandate. I believe homes are generally the most effective means to accomplishing this goal. The author may overstate his case a bit, but it is the way forward here in the West. 2. He does a good job at showing practical ways the leadership of a church could transition into a cell or house church model. 3. He gives scripture which supports the idea that homes played a large role in the early church 4. He points out that much of our evangelism is futile unless it is rooted in church planting/multiplication and that homes are key to accomplishing this. 5. He has some great warning against what he sees as a "copyism" of the biggest churches and most well known ministers. 6. The book really is revolutionary in nature. If this is the direction the church is going in, then it will change a lot and probably for the good!
I recommend the book. Just don't go out burning church buildings when you're done.
I knew I wasn't crazy! Jul 10, 2007
This is an outstanding book. For a long time, I would sit in a church service and look around thinking, "Why do we do things like this? Where is our biblical model? Why don't we do things like they did in the bible?" Then after all this time, I find this book. And reading it was practically indescribable. All these things that I had known deep within me, materialized in black and white. I have read, and re-read it, making notes and studying, and shared it with others.
Besides my concordance and bible dictionary, this is the most important extrabiblical book I own.
It will challenge you to truly "think outside the (church) box."