Resources

The books listed below are highly recommended for the house church library. They are available on various media and most titles are available at a discount from Amazon.com (links are provided for your convenience).

Please let us know of other books that you find useful.

Use the links in the right-hand column to access a resource:

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  • HTML Document available as a web page on this site.
  • New and Used go to the appropriate page on Amazon.com.
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A Believers' Church Theology by Stanley A. Nelson

Develops doctrines by studying the historical people and periods in church history from which those doctrines emerged. Edited by Herb Drake and Matthew Wysocki.

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Part 1: "The Anabaptist Story"

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The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis

This story of the life of a missionary family gives an inside look at the witness and practice of underground house churches in many countries where believers are persecuted.

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Parting Ways by Patrick Sipperly

This book is a work of fiction that describes the path of a "successful" pastor as he starts to question success.

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The Church Comes Home by Robert & Julia Banks

Robert and Julia banks first came to the attention of House Church Central through the rocommendation of Vernard Eller, who described Dr. Banks as "Mr. House Church." In this compact volume, people new to the concept will find the answers to many of their questions about joining or starting a fellowship, children, multiplying, home church clusters, as well as a host of testimonies.

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The House Church Book by Del Birkey

This splendid book is foundational to the house church, delving into its history and centered on the need for the/ three "R's"--Revival, Reformation, and Revitalization . Dr. Birkey had a house church in his home for more than ten years, and travels a great deal in third-world countries where the house church tends to be the norm.

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The Book of Romans: A House Church Manifesto? by Herb Drake

In need of a thesis topic for a Masters Degree in Historical Theology, I was drawn to Romans because of its several house-church references. Having studied the chiastic form found on other biblical books, I decided to try to map Romans into a chiasm to see whatever fruit might emerge. As I worked, I became increasingly aware of the clarity that this approach gave the whole book. I hope others will be as blessed by this treatment as I was. Note: Since it is an academic book, I must apologize in advance for its somewhat stilted language.

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Ekklesia: To the Roots of Biblical House Church Life, Steve Atkerson, Ed.

As with any book assembled from many authors, Ekklesia is somewhat variable. It champions 1 Cor. 14 as a model for doing church, and that is where this book's strength lies. The book makes a good attempt at reconciling equality within the HC membership while still providing for the designation of elders. This reader found the chapter titled Divine Order to be lamentable -- there are more biblcal understandings of "women should be silent..." (See Berkey's Book, above). Home Churchers will find it a practical resource, but it is unfortunate that the book lacks an index.

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The Fall of Patriarchy by Del Birkey

Why would anybody involved in house churh want a book on patriarchy? You'd have to read the subtitle to get the answer: Its Broken Legacy Judged by Jesus and the Apostolic House Church Communities. Like Del Birkey's The House Church, this is a scholarly work that treats the subject of male dominance, and authority in general, in the context of the church. The book is thorough and biblical.

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Original The Fall of Patriarchy article by Del Birkey

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Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas (25th Anniversary Edition)

A well written and challenging alternative view of the church in Western society--how to look critically at the culture and its invasion of the church. Subtitled A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something Is Wrong. Dr. Hauerwas is professor of theological ethics at the Divinity School, Duke University.

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The Community of the Spirit by C. Norman Kraus

The Holy Spirit empowered the church at Pentecost, but to understand the tremendous implications of that event requires an appreciation of the importance of both the individual and the messianic community of which he or she is a part. Dr. Kraus presents the historical roots of the Spirit's work, both in the Old Testament and the New, and creates a framework for interpreting the biblical concepts of salvation, peace, love, and grace.

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Paul's Idea of Community by Robert Banks, Revised ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994)

What can be more important to a properly functioning house church than that it should have a sense of community? This careful study demonstrates that Paul's thinking is rooted in Christ's radical message, and shows how the apostle tried to shape the churches into the ideal that they would one day find in heaven.

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The Believers' Church by Donald F. Durnbaugh.

The concept, history, and character of the house church. Prof. Durnbaugh has written or edited ten books and over 70 articles in journals and periodicals. He taught church history at Bethany Theological Seminary until his recent retirement.

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Matthew, Believers Church Bible Commentary, by Richard B. Gardner

While there are about a dozen truly excellent Bible commentaries available, this is one that every home church should have. Matthew's is the gospel of the gathered people, and Gardner's treatment of it brings out that aspect like none other.

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The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

Of the many, brilliant books by Yoder, this is perhaps the most important and accessible. Christianity Today said that this "could be one of the most significant studies published among evangelicals in quite some time." Yoder was on the faculty of Goshen Biblical Seminary and Notre Dame. He died in December, 1997.

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Plain and Simple by Sue Bender: A Woman's Journey to the Amish

Here is a book about the simple life, written from the perspective of an "outsider"--and that is what makes this book so delifcious. We see a modern, secular artist drawn into the simple life through the beauty of Amish quilts. There are other books that deal better with the theology of the simple life, but Mrs. Bender communicates, probably better than any other modern author, its joys. You will be blessed by this book. (Of the books on this page, this one-time best seller is the one most likely to be found in an ordinary public library).

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Selling Out the Church by Philip D. Kenneson & James L. Street

I encountered this first as a journal article by Mr. Kenneson titled "Selling [out] the Church in the Marketplace of Desire" and was delighted to see a full-length book follow. Home church folks are bound to get a chuckle out of these ungodly ploys used by the Institnutional church in the name of Jesus. All Christians can benefit from this book, which shines the light of Christian theology on many modern church "programs" and finds them wanting. Consider the thinking behind phrases like "user friendly," "seeker sensitive," "meeting unmet needs," etc.

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House Church Meetings: A Legal Analysis by Sean J. Gallagher

What protection do house churches have under the US Constitution and legal precedent. Local zoning, ordinances, and laws. What steps can be taken to minimize legal challenges.

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Archaeology and the Bible, An Introducion, by j. k. eakins

Prof. eakins has degrees in Medicine and Old Testament and has authored several books and journal articles. He has spent several seasons with the archaeological expedition at Tel El-Hesi. Now retired, he has provided a summary on how archaeology can (and cannot) help the church.

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The House Church: A Missiological Model by Del Birkey

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By the way, the authors of these publications come from a wide range of denominations. Birkey, Kraus, and Yoder are Mennonites; Eller and and Durnbaugh are Church of the Brethren, Hauerwas is a Methodist; Nelson is a Baptist.

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