My “outside the institutional church” experience started in 1999. And going by how much convicted I was, as well as the general momentum of a new thing that God was doing among His people back then, some of us were confident that in a matter of few years or a decade, the institutional church system would have given way to the New Testament way of assembly in homes which we were just coming into. And since then, almost 18 years later, I have tried to study the pattern of events between the institutional churches and the emerging order of home assemblies. And I can conclude that despite our ongoing efforts within the "organic/house church" setting to raise awareness, it is still relatively unknown and even where it is known, for the most parts, seriously misunderstood.
So, I can relate perfectly and agree fully with Brother Henry Hon’s submission in ONE that “while the system of institutional churches of various stripes has been well established for more than a thousand years, the recovery of the independent assembly in homes, house by house, according to the New Testament, is still in its infancy. Ironically, it is the assembly located in homes that is God’s desire and what all the apostles labored to build up. Yet two thousand years later, it is still obscure.”
Stopping there however might give way to a bit of discouragement. And to this, there is a word of encouragement and consolation as the author went on: “In spite of this, the Lord Jesus has not given up His desire and is recovering the assembly back to its rightful prominence.” For me, this is a great encouragement, to know that the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Assembly is still at work in spite of what things may look like externally.
Furthermore, Brother Hon pointed out that “Since it is a fresh discovery by many believers in recent decades, trial and error is still taking place as believers learn and negotiate their way back to assembling as prescribed by the early apostles.” I think this is a most crucial point we should carefully ponder upon, so that we can make room in our minds for the learning curve.
Subsequently, the author hopes that through ONE, many more believers will be inspired and find real joy in the building up of the assembly from house to house, according to God’s eternal purpose. For those already practicing the assembly in a home, ONE will serve as a way of trading notes so that believers can learn and network together in the one fellowship of Jesus Christ. I totally subscribe to that that. Let’s pray and live expecting the next and last revival that will bring about the emergence of the glorious church and the return of her King. Reset to ONE; revival next!
(Excerpts from Page 19 of One.)