Acts House Churches
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Early Church Principal 87

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Archway to GardenThe author of Acts locates many events of the early church's development in the houses of particular individuals. It was in the Acts house churches according to Acts 2.2 that the first believers were baptized by the Holy Spirit, "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting." The earliest churches met in people's houses recorded in Acts 2.46 "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." Also we read in Acts 12.12, "When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying."

Paul Raided Houses

Saul, later called Paul, raided the Acts house churches as a persecutor in Acts 8.3, "But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison." Then later Saul is healed in the house of Judas according to Acts 9.11 "The Lord told him, 'Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.'" Peter stayed in the house church of Simon the Tanner in Acts 10.6, "He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea." It is upon Simon's roof that he sees the vision that encourages him to go to visit Cornelius.✞

Peter and Cornelius

CorneliusAgainst Jewish practice, Saint Peter enters the house of Cornelius, a Gentile in Acts 10.25 "As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence." This became a point of contention according to Acts 11.2-3 "So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, 'You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.'" From this it was established that, as Paul later put it, "the old walls of separation between Gentile and Jew were coming down in Christ." Paul stayed at the Acts house churches of many of his converts according to Acts 16.15 "When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us." Other references following confirm this. Acts 16.40 says, "After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them." This makes it abundantly clear that the Early Church's principal locus of operations was in the house churches of individual Christians.✞

"Acts House Churches"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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