House Church Stages
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Household Development Discernible 151

Evidence and Definitions

Christian House ChurchOrdinary homes were the only meeting places that Christians had, not only throughout the New Testament period, but through most of the second century. There are three stages of household development discernible in the early church. One report according to John Foster in "The First Advance - Church History 1: AD 29-500" says that a church building was set up at Arbil, east of the river Tigris, before 148 AD. There is evidence that there was also a church building in Edessa, 300 miles west of Arbil, sometime after 180 AD when the King of Edessa became a Christian. The building was destroyed by flooding in 201 AD.✞

First of Three Stages 50-150 AD

The early Christian period of 50-313 A.D. can be divided roughly into three. During the first stage, 50-150 AD, Christians would have met in private homes belonging to individual members, or benefactors, of the community. The title "house church" is most appropriately applied to this period. The house church by definition according to Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids in "Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development" is "a domestic residence that is architecturally unaltered for the purpose of Christian assembly and is used at least occasionally by the local Christian community or a part of it."

"House Church Stages"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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