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On the eve of our fourth year, and having dispatched just over 1,000,000 page views, a major overhaul of House Church Central was accomplished. A brief summary:
Dr. Del Birkey, whose book The House Church is a consistent best seller among our book recommendations, has blessed HCC with two articles: The Patriarchs Are Coming, and The House Church: A Missiological Model.
Prof. Stan Nelson is the source of most of the theology found on this site. His two-semester "Systematic Theology" class was a popular one, attracting legions of students until Dr. Nelson's recent retirement. He still teaches as a Sr. Professor, and is often invited to teach at seminaries around the world. Because of the demand from many of his former students, we have reprinted a limited number and are pleased to make them available while they last.
Sean Gallagher has contributed a fascinating overview of the home church and those who would regulate them with ordinances and lawsuits, including a number of legal challenges to house church meetings and how they were resolved.
Jon Dee has forwarded an update on his work on behalf of the undergound church in china.
has finally been added to The Eller Collection. Originally published by Abingdon Press (good Methodists, all), you will find it short but thoroughly--er--enlightening. Sorry--no illustrations.
A Believers' Church Theology, Prof. Stan Nelson's seminary textbook, has been on the Resource Page since the beginning of House Church Central. One chapter, "The Anabaptist Story" has also been available as an electronic publication. Well, the book has sold out and is no longer available, so Stan agreed to put the whole book on this web site. Enjoy!
Not all of the electronic publications have been updated, however new ones should conform to the new style guidelines as they are added.
The background music now randomly selects from a play list. To change selections, reset your browser (Level 4 browsers, only).
You may also disable the music or select from among eight songs. Click "Preferences" at the bottom of the new navigation frame (if you don't see it there, your browser needs to be updated). Your preference is retained in a "cookie" so it can be recovered on your next visit.
Also, a drop-down menu box now replaces the text list. (If you have an old browser, you will have to use the "Go!" button to confirm your selection).
This Vernard Eller book, perhaps, was written a decade too early. How well it fits the present times, with the Christian Right so much in the news. You won't want to miss this scholarly treatment of the proper Christian response to such controversies.
Jon Dee is back from his second visit to inland China and brings back a report on the persecuted house churches there.
Dr. Eller has contributed a second, short piece on Worship, but the big news is that the copyright hassles for another Eller book have been overcome. So keep checking The Eller Collection for the appearance of new titles.
It is now possible to obtain a copy of most of the recommended printed publications listed on the Resource Page by clicking through to Amazon.com. You will get their best price, the confidence of dealing with a bookseller with a reputation for e-commerce security and good customer service, and their best available discount. Your purchases will also help pay the bills at HCC through their Associates' program.
Its been over a year since frames were added to HCC. The no-frame version will no longer be supported. A site map has been added to allow navigation with old fashioned browsers.
A total of four of these are now available.
This is a learning tool, not a device to measure theological literacy. After you've read a topic, the quiz feature gives you a way to reflect on what you've read by answering a series of ten questions. Questions on only one doctrine are available at this time, but more are on the way.
Proclaim Good Tidings, orinally published by the Brethren Press, has been added to the Vernard Eller Collection. Check it out! House Church Evangelism the way it ought to be.
Well, here it is--one year and 5105 visitors since the first public appearance of House Church Central on the World Wide Web! Many, many thanks to all that have dropped by, and especially to those who have helped by supplying input through the survey.
Holding down two jobs has made it difficult, but more is in the works at HCC. Keep an eye out for at least one new Vernard Eller book and the addition of a new major component to the theology pages.
It turns out that House Church Central and the Home Church Discussion List (HCDL) got the idea to introduce an automatic, on-line home church directory about the same time. Even though we already had cross links between our web sites, it seemed silly to have two separate lists. Besides, the HCDL people had some pretty good ideas about things that needed to be changed in the old system. So we decided to cooperate on a single list, which is available now. Weve both tested the revised Registry pretty carefully, but admit there may be some bugs for a while so please send email if you encounter problems or need help.
Those who have already listed in the HCC Registry will find that their listings remain in the new listing--but these folks should edit their entries so they can fill in the small amount of additional information in the new format. Users also should be aware that all listings expire one year after they are created or updated, so keep your listing current so it won't disappear. Editing your entry in the Registry has never been easier, as you no longer have to start from scratch every time you want to make a small change.
One thing that having college roommates does real quickly is to teach a person that few things can divide people more quickly than differing tastes in music. But if you are among those who have an occasional hankering to hear some of the music of the traditional church, you may be alarmed to see that it appears to be fading fast. You'll find a lament in the magazine section.
A new top-level page, "Giving to HCC," was added to give guidance to those who feel led to participate in the HCC ministry.
What a pleasant surprise to find a new article in my mailbox from Vernard Eller, this one taking on TBN. Dr. Eller wrote that this was a "compulsion"--he felt that he "had no alternative but to write it." But this is not really about TBN--it is about any worship form that is anthropocentric in its approach. In his note accompanying the article, he wrote "Notice that, as clearly as anything, God says (over against David) that what HE wants is not temple but HOUSE-CHURCH."
The original search engine simply searched all pages on the site. But as the page count has increased, search speed began to go down to where browsers would sometimes time out before the server could complete the search request. So a new "Scope" setting has been added so one can specify where to search. In addition, search features have been added to the Vernard Eller Collection, the HCC Magazine, and each of the "On Line Books" which take up the function of the General, Scripture, and Names Indexes of their hard-copy counterparts.
Vernard Eller's Kierkegaard and Radical Discipleship has been in the works since February. It is a huge project with dozens of files and hundreds of footnotes. It is a rather academic book, to be sure--but it is hoped that many who have been impressed by some of the quotes on the "Green Key" essay will take the time to see Eller's case for having Kierkegaard a Radical Protestant sectarian rather than a philosopher, psychologist, or social commentator. It is a delight to rescue this important work from the dusty shelves of academic libraries and make it available to the House Church Community.
Much of the e-mail that arrives here a HCC can be divided into two piles: People who want recommendations for nearby house churches, and people who want to announce the presence of their house churches. How does one get these two groups together? So a user-maintained house church directory has been added to satisfy that need.
We know there are still many who just plain don't like frames. But as House Church Central has grown to include new features, the original frameless design began to take longer and longer to load each page set because of the increasing number of graphic elements on each page. Also, more and more of the other sites on the Internet have gotten over their early reticence with frames as frames capable browsers gradually became the norm on the Web. While frames on HCC are not simple because not all pages can tolerate the reduced nominal width, the new "look" has prompted quite a few favorable comments both because of its speed and its appearance.