A MANUAL ON
ESTABLISHING HOUSE CHURCHES
By Richard B. W. Ing, D.Min., J.D., PhM, B.S.
Light of The World Mission - Philippines
11 Lt. Chrysanthemum St., 2 Blk., Rosaflor Subdivision
Santa Rosa, Tagapo, Laguna, Philippines
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. PURPOSES OF STUDY 2
1. To prepare for both revival/harvest and persecution to come 2
2. To attain God’s eternal purposes - mature sons and daughters 2
3. To produce Overcomers, the End Time Army of God and the Martyrs 4
II. THE NEED FOR HOUSE CHURCHES 4
1. Coming Revival 4
2. Coming Persecution 6
III. THE PRECEDENCE - CHURCH HISTORY 6
1. New Testament House Churches 7
2. The Beginning of Institutionalized Churches 8
IV. MODERN ATTEMPTS AT HOUSE CHURCHES 8
1. The Missing Link 9
2. Varieties of Focus in Modern Types 9
V. BASIC REQUIREMENTS 10
1. The Need for Proper Vision, Doctrines and Practices 11
(a) The End Time Army of God 12
2. Self Perpetuation 13
3. Duplication 14
4. Maturing the Saints 14
5. Accountability 17
6. Loyalty to the Bible - Avoiding Heresy 17
7. Collective Leadership 19
8. Central Church and Five-Fold Ministry 20
9. Relationships in the local house church 21
(a) Personality Problems 22
10. Mobility 23
VI. OTHER CONCERNS 23
A. Group Leadership 23
B. Deliverance and Inner Healing 24
C. Titles and Positions 25
D. Working Leaders 25
E. Names of Groups 26
VII. EVENTUAL AUTONOMY 26
VIII. CONDUCTING THE HOUSE MEETING AND OTHER CONCERNS 27
IX. RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION 28
1. Implementing the Plan to Institute House Churches 28
Stage One - PARADYM SHIFT NEEDED 28
Stage Two - TRANSITION 29
Stage Three - OUTLINES AND PUBLICATIONS 29
Stage Four - INITIAL TRAINING CENTER 30
Stage Five - ESTABLISHING OTHER TRAINING CENTERS 32
Stage Six - TURNING OVER ALL MINISTRY TO THE
HOUSE CHURCHES 32
2. Other Considerations 33
X. CONCLUSIONS 33
XI. APPENDICES 34
ATTACHMENT A - PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DOCTRINE DEBUNKED 36
ATTACHMENT B - WHO IS LUCIFER? 40
ATTACHMENT C - CHRISTMAS AND EASTER - BABYLONIAN PRACTICES 43
ATTACHMENT D - DELIVERANCE AND INNER HEALING 48
ATTACHMENT E - APOSTACY - STATE OF THE CHURCH TODAY 49
ATTACHMENT F - FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY 59
ATTACHMENT G - HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS 62
ATTACHMENT H - REVIVAL AND PERSECUTION 66
ATTACHMENT I - THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE 69
ATTACHMENT J - SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY 70
ATTACHMENT K - DIPLOMAS/CERTIFICATES 71
ATTACHMENT L - STATEMENT OF FAITH 72
ATTACHMENT M - TRAINING CENTERS AND OTHER THINGS 81
ATTACHMENT N- OPEN CHURCH FORMAT FOR MEETINGS 86
LIGHT OF THE WORLD MISSIONS
1316 Kaumualii Street, 2nd Floor
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Phone: (808) 845-4162
FAX: (808) 845-4163
In 1998, an angel appeared to us in Lal-lo, Cagayan in northern Philippines and announced that a great revival was going to take place in Tucalana. When we returned in 2001, he was still standing there as if waiting for the Lord’s command to go forward. Meanwhile, angels were seen at our mission house at Santa Rosa and at our crusade meetings.
We’ve been praying for revival harder than ever. But we’ve come to realize that God is a God of order and not confusion and before He allows revival to start, all the pieces in the puzzle must be in place first. Why would the Lord bring many millions into the kingdom of God when there are no churches they can go to, no finances and no laborers to teach them?
Then too, we know that the Bible says that there will be an incredible persecution of the church in the end times and probably starting during the coming revival. Most Christians will fall away from the faith and church buildings everywhere will be destroyed or shut down. There will be one-world government and one-world religion that will make Christianity illegal and that will hunt down and destroy all Christians it can find. Would God just allow the entire church to be destroyed without warning His church and providing a means of escape? Definitely not!
We believe that the house church format God originally designed and that was in place for the first three hundred years was intended to allow the saints to make it through both times of peach and times of persecution and war. The house churches in mainland China and elsewhere attest to this. During times of great revival, the house church format will be the answer to the lack of finances to build large meeting places and to pay for full-time church employees. Since great revival/harvests usually last only for several years, at most, there would simply be not enough time to plan and construct such edifices.
House churches also allow individual saints to grow up spiritually as fast as possible. The present day large church structures do not.
We anticipate the restoration of the Church in structure, doctrine and purity. At the same time, we know that the house church movement will be resisted by certain elements of organized religion, that may sense a need to protect their vested interests and beliefs.
Richard B. W. Ing, Senior Pastor
LIGHT OF THE WORLD MISSIONS
1316 Kaumualii Street, 2nd Floor
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Phone: (808) 845-4162
FAX: (808) 845-4163
A MANUAL ON
ESTABLISHING HOUSE CHURCHES FOR THE END TIMES
About three years ago, I was in the Philippines traveling from ocean level Dagupan towards top of the mountain Baguio. It was around 7:30 a.m., and except for the driver, everyone else was drowsing. Suddenly, I heard a voice say to me, “I want my church back!” I sat upright and looked at the others in the taxicab. All the passengers were asleep. I realized that God was talking to me. At first, I thought He was angry and wanted me to give him back His church, but the voice was calm and matter-of-fact, like a friend telling you what is in his heart. The Holy Spirit began to put thoughts directly into my spirit. The church is no longer the church God gave us for the first three hundred years. It has changed drastically in both doctrine and structure. When the church discarded God’s original design, Christianity changed for the worse.
God wants His church back - the one He put into action almost 2,000 years ago. God’s original church was in the form of house churches, and there are definite reasons why God abandoned the earlier “temple worship.” Each born-again Christian now had the Holy Spirit dwelling in him and had become a king and priest unto God. Rev. 1:5; Rev. 5:10.
This Manual studies the reasons God chose houses as assembly places for His Church and explores methods on how to give God back His church. We will discuss the purposes and benefits of a house church structure, the history of house churches, house churches in anti-Christian countries, and how a modern house church can operate and succeed today.
Regardless of format or structure, it takes people with the right heart and training, the Holy Spirit’s anointing and leading, and our obedience to His authority that makes any church work. The proper structure, however, can lead to the attainment of all that God has purposed for us. Keep in mind, however, that our prime intent is to give God back His true church; not just structure, but also love, obedience, spiritual maturity and all that it stands for.
Some of the contents of this writing may upset you. In fact, since there are no perfect churches or saints, it will probably frustrate most of you to some extent. That is not our intention. Our intention is to reveal truth. The truth may make you angry; but it will make you free. We do not presume that everything contained herein is absolute truth or that we know everything. For that, you need to seek God.
I. PURPOSES OF THIS STUDY
1. To prepare for coming revival/harvest and persecution.
Two things are almost upon us: (1) worldwide revival/harvest; and (2) persecution/tribulation. The present church structure is grossly unsuited for either. In studying great revivals of the past, we find that great numbers of new converts flooded the existing church buildings and they overflowed within a short period. The established churches could not contain and train the sudden influx and many new converts eventually fell back into the world.
The same will be true today if we continue with our institutionalized churches. (When we speak of revival, we also include harvest.) The existing buildings and the limited number of trained and ordained pastors will quickly reach capacity. As Jesus mentioned, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” Mt. 9:37. In order to accommodate the sudden influx, new and bigger buildings are needed under the present system. However, it takes great sums of money to build more and bigger structures. In addition, the time required to plan, design, obtain permits and build cannot keep pace with a revival of the magnitude and speed expected of the last and greatest revival of all time. In Third World Countries, lack of funds puts such construction out of reach. Therefore, we need to think of different ways to prepare for revival.
2. To attain God’s eternal purposes.
Two eternal purposes and desires have always burned deep in God’s heart: (A) to have mature sons and daughters like Jesus Christ; and (B) a perfect Church without spot, wrinkle or blemish, that will be the Bride of Christ when He returns.
The present church structure cannot produce the spiritual maturity God desires of us. Many churches and denominations continue to deny the existence of the Holy Spirit’s ministry on earth and the saints remain immature and confused. Pentecostal churches that follow the traditional church structure (large building, professional staff and many members) are also ill fitted to mature the saints. Most modern churches are program-oriented and focused on filling the building and paying the bills. For the most part, programs are not designed to bring the saints into spiritual maturity; but rather, to meet their secular needs and desires. People left on their own to seek spiritual maturity will usually fail and mediocrity passes down the decades.
There is a need for a church structure that will encourage both spiritual maturity and worldwide evangelism. In the traditional large church format, people are content with going to church once a week and living as the rest of the world the other six days. There is no accountability and no need to change. As a result, we have become a stagnant entertainment center that strives to satisfy the emotional needs of the congregation and little else. The church leaders have become entertainment managers and performers. Tithes and offerings are the entry fee into the theatre. Emotionalism and entertainment have become the primary orientation of most modern Christians. Intellectualism is the badge of maturity evidenced by a degree from some seminary or Bible college. There is little or no actual spiritual maturity. By spiritual maturity, we mean a person who has a close relationship with the Lord, can hear his voice clearly, is filled with love and all the characteristics of God’s heart and the fruit of the Spirit, knows how to allow the Holy Spirit to live his life for him, who has the knowledge and anointing to cast out devils, heal the sick, raise the dead and who is a true servant to all, skillful in not only knowing the Word of God but also ministering the Word, who is humble, submissive and obedient and has much wisdom. This definition is not all-inclusive.
A larger church (50 more members) does not usually monitor its members and most programs and activities are voluntary. One can easily hide in the forest, so to speak. One friend of mine who attended a large church had been on military assignment in another country for five months. When he returned to his church, no one knew that he had been absent; nor did anyone really care.
A perfect church not only has perfect members, but a life of its own that is perfect in the sight of God. Its doctrines and practices are completely biblical and true to the Word. We have not yet seen such a church these days, although many subjectively think they are the true church of God. If house churches fit God’s mold of a perfect church, that means that the over-whelming majority of present-day churches are not perfect or anywhere close to it in both structure and practice.
As it stands today, the modern church is an immature, compromising and fornicating church that has adopted and incorporated many pagan holidays and practices. It observes the birthday of Tammuz, the sun god of Babylon, whose birthday is December 25 and whose signs are green trees cut out of the forest, decorated with silver and gold and stood upright in houses (Christmas trees). Jer. 10:1-5. It celebrates the fertility festival of Ishtar (Easter), the Babylonian goddess of fertility and witchcraft whose signs are colored eggs and chicks. All the while, it contends that it is Bible believing and true to the Word. Yet, none of these observances is contained in the original Bible. See Attachment C.
The Catholic Church started the habit of incorporating other religions. They took Hindu and Buddhists prayer beads and called it the Rosary. They copied the Buddhist tradition of monks, nuns and monasteries and even adopted the shaven heads, clothing (habits), hand postures, celibacy and the worship of dead people (called “saints”). They adopted many other things such as Lent. One of the worse things they adopted was the worship of a woman as the supreme deity (Virgin Mary). This came from Babylonian worship of the mother/child that speaks of a perpetual virgin called the Queen of Heaven (Jer. 44:18-19) and Madonna (Is. 47:5). The church took many other things from the Babylonian religion, including elaborate temples, an elite priesthood and chanting. The incorporation of strange religions into Roman Catholicism has been a long-standing practice. Unfortunately, with Martin Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, he did not reform all things. Protestant churches, including Pentecostals, continue some of the “abominations” of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church today desire social and political acceptance. More than 90% of church leaders and denominations have either endorsed or joined the Roman Catholic Church’s Ecumenical Movement to form a one-world religion and most have adopted doctrines and practices not taught by the early apostles. See Attachment E.
3. To produce Overcomers, the End Time Army of God, and the Martyrs.
The Bible is clear that in the end times, there will be a true church that shines like the sun, a man-child army that will be taken up to the throne of God, and martyrs that will testify to the truth in the face of death. Rev. 12. Some Bible scholars claim that the woman who is a wonder in heaven, clothed with the sun, wearing a crown of twelve stars, with the moon under her feet (Rev. 12:1,2), is Israel at the time Jesus was born. They claim that the man-child that was born and taken up to the throne of God to escape the dragon (Rev. 12:5) was Jesus and the martyrs of verse 17 were the original apostles and Christians. I disagree.
Roman Catholics claim that the wonder in heaven, clothed with the sun if the Virgin Mary and the Roman Catholic Church. This is ridiculous.
The Book of Revelation is a prophecy, not a history book. Rev. 1:3; Rev. 4:1. The events spoken of in Revelation 12 have not yet happened. The woman, clothed with the sun could not possibly be Israel. Israel was as corrupt as Sodom and Egypt when Jesus walked the earth (Rev. 11:8). She was far from being a wonder in heaven (Rev. 12:1). The man-child is not Jesus. Jesus defeated the dragon and went back to heaven in victory, not to escape the dragon. He spoiled principalities and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Col. 2:15. Jesus defeated Satan. The woman is God’s true church of the end times made up of children of light and therefore, it shines like the sun. The crown of twelve stars represents the twelve tribes of Israel because spiritual Jews (Ro. 2:28,29) and not natural Jews make up the true church. The moon is under her feet because she has defeated the kingdom of darkness. She has overcome the Devil by the blood of the Lamb, by the Word of her testimony and loves not her life until the death. Rev. 12:11. The man-child is the Army of God that will come back with Jesus on white horses to defeat all evil on the earth in the final battle. Joel 2:1-11; Is. 13:1-19; Rev. 19:14-21. The “remnant of her seed” is the martyrs spoken of in Revelation 6 and 11. Unlike the man-child (taken up to the throne of God) and the woman protected in the wilderness, the remnant of her seed remains unprotected. The martyrs that give up their lives to honor Jesus receive great rewards in the end. Rev. 20:4-6.
Currently, the traditional church structure is unable to produce the true church, the Army of God and the martyrs. Consequently, God will not allow revival and the persecutions/tribulations soon to follow until He attains His eternal desires or establishes the mechanism to bring it to fruition. The present church system falls far short.
II. THE NEED FOR HOUSE CHURCHES
1. Coming Revival
The present large-church system (that is - a large congregation in a large building) could never accommodate the great numbers of converts expected in the coming revival. In a Third World country such as the Philippines, there simply is not enough time to collect funds, purchase properties, plan, and design, obtain permits and construct large buildings to handle a sudden massive influx of converts, even if such funds were readily available. Millions of converts will come into the kingdom of God within a short span of time and a physical structure able to accommodate large numbers must already be in place. It is interesting to note that the Great Welsh Revival involved only 180,000 new converts and was over in 18 months. The Azusa Street Revival was similar in numbers and time.
Secondly, while some monies will come from America and other foreign countries, there will never be enough available funds at any given time to consider constructing large church buildings and paying many full-time pastors and leaders. Imagine what would happen if 50% of the Philippines’ population become Christians within three or four years. That would amount to 43.5 million Christians (latest census reports show that there are 87 million Filipinos). Currently, only 10% of Filipinos are church-going born-again Christians, or 4.35 million. That would mean an increase of 39,150,000 members or 1000%. The current church system would fall apart and many converts would be lost. There would be an extreme shortage of pastors and other workers and little available money. Realistically, such funds do not exist now and there are pitifully few available pastors and laborers for the coming harvest. Most of the current Philippines churches are poverty-stricken, undermanned and ill equipped. The same is true in many Third World countries and in Eastern Europe.
This is not to say that no conventional churches will benefit from the coming revival. Some will, but fall far short of the needs of a full and quick revival. It is not the Lord’s first or best choice.
God is a God of order and sufficiency. He is not going to move until all the elements necessary for a successful revival are in place. Why would God trigger off a revival that will result in turning away millions and leave them floundering around without guidance? It would be like someone obtaining a million sheep and having only an acre of land on which to house them, only a hundred shepherds to watch over them, and only a hundred bails of hay to feed them.
Although we mention the Philippines and other Third World countries, a house church format must also be workable in Western countries. Indeed, even well financed churches in Western countries will not be able to plan, construct and furnish large church buildings overnight. It would take more than a few years to do so. By that time, the harvest would be almost over.
Churches not prepared for a large and sudden influx of converts will miss out. This was true during past revivals, especially the Azusa Street Revival. Various writers report that churches that were not prepared for revival or that resisted the movement, lost their members who left to join the revival effort at other places. They closed their doors, some forever. Many churches quickly filled and were unprepared to handle the multitudes. As a result, many new converts went back to the world or quit after a period because there were no facilities or teachers of the Word available to them.
We cannot just pray for revival and not concern ourselves with what will happen when God answers our prayers. We greatly need a paradigm shift in the way we think and do things. While we are waiting for God to move, God is waiting for us.
2. Coming Persecution
The Bible reveals a massive end-time effort to annihilate all churches of Jesus Christ. Rev. 13:7; Da. 7:21,25. Satan’s beast is going to war against the saints and overcome them. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus warns us about the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Da. 8:11-14; Da. 9:17,18,26,27; Da. 11:31; Da. 12:11. The Book of Revelation echoes this warning. Rev. 12:13; Rev. 13:7,8. Therefore, the Church needs a structure that will enable the saints to survive persecution.
History has shown that house churches are the answer to survival during times of persecution. During the Dark Ages when the Roman Catholic Church was most powerful in Europe, there were a number of underground religious groups that resisted the Catholics, most notably the Anabaptists. Nevertheless, these “renegade” groups (which were probably closer to the true church than their persecutors) prospered and continued until recent times.
Many “underground” house churches sprouted and prospered in countries that persecute Christians. Prime examples in recent times abound in China, the Middle East, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Small house churches are vital for both revival and survival. Their mobility, closeness and spiritual maturity allow small flocks to survive and prosper in the midst of intense persecution and oppression.
The prophesied “abomination of desolation” will see organized and institutional churches both persecuted and destroyed. Mt. 24:15. It is therefore obligatory for us to lay the groundwork for a system of house churches. Failure to do so will result in countless Christians falling away from the faith (2 Th. 2:3) or killed. Most who refuse to fall away will be martyred. Rev. 11:3-11; Rev. 6:11; Rev. 13:15-18. Revelation 13:7 and Daniel 7:21 and 25 make it clear that Satan’s beast (or one of the horns on the beast) will war against the saints and prevail over them.
However, the justification for returning to house churches is not primarily for the purpose of escaping or surviving persecution. There is much more. An important reason is the need to grow spiritually. Either you are a true Christian or you are a spectator. Either you follow Jesus or you do not. Today, the behavior of most Christians is contrary to their supposed belief system. Most are untouched by their Christian beliefs. As the saying goes, they talk the walk but do not walk the talk.
Institutional churches encourage it passivity. The closeness allowed by a small group, however, forces people to be transparent and exposed to the light of God. They cannot hide in the forest because there are few trees to hide behind in a house church.
Even in peacetime, house churches were the chosen format. Within the first three hundred years of the New Testament house church, there were many periods of relative peace during which Christianity enjoyed tolerance and acceptance. Some of these peaceful interludes lasted over forty years. During these times, the Church continued to meet in houses and experience great growth in numbers. House churches greatly facilitate world evangelism.