Home-based fellowships

I am curious about experiences with home-based fellowship groups. As another thread noted, it’s not correct to call thee groups “Protestants” (because they’re not protesting any doctrines), or even “Churches” though they may meet on Sunday mornings. From my experience they are reacting to the “mega-church” mentality, common in some denominations, of dragging as many people as possible into a church on Sunday to hear a lecture by a well-educated Bible scholar that affirms what you believe, then going home unchanged. They are correct in saying that this approach doesn’t leave room for fellowship, forming strong relationships with other brothers & sisters in Christ, and being accountible for living out your faith the rest of the week. We Catholics go to Mass for a different reason, of course, to worship Christ and receive his body. But still, we also have a need for fellowship as well. If they invite a Catholic to their group, saying, “please go to Mass as well; we want you to remain faithful to your own Church too”, there doesn’t seem to be a problem in accepting?

I realize that there are small-group community movements within the Catholic church as well, and that’s wonderful. I just don’t see why we can’t have it all–Mass with fellow Catholics, solid teaching from our magesterium, AND close fellowship with Christians of all kinds.

Most home-churchers seem to be coming out of Protestantism, but I’m curious if anyone knows of people with this non-doctrinal fellowship-based mindset converting to or from the Catholic Church? (For example, are any of the stories in the Surprised by Truth series relevant?)

[quote=abraham]Most home-churchers seem to be coming out of Protestantism, but I’m curious if anyone knows of people with this non-doctrinal fellowship-based mindset converting to or from the Catholic Church? (For example, are any of the stories in the Surprised by Truth series relevant?)
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No matter what they choose or not choose to call themselves, they are indeed Protestants if their theology is built on the classic planks of the Protestant Reformation–Scripture alone, faith alone, and the non-necessity of belonging to the one, holy and (visibly) apostolic Church. Also, to call them non-doctrinal is inaccurate. In regards to the doctrines cited above they tend to be VERY strictly doctrinal–it is their lifeblood.

To directly answer your question, yes, the SBT books are excellent examples of these types of stories. I highly recomment them.

[quote=abraham]I am curious about experiences with home-based fellowship groups. As another thread noted, it’s not correct to call thee groups “Protestants” (because they’re not protesting any doctrines), or even “Churches” though they may meet on Sunday mornings. From my experience they are reacting to the “mega-church” mentality, common in some denominations, of dragging as many people as possible into a church on Sunday to hear a lecture by a well-educated Bible scholar that affirms what you believe, then going home unchanged. They are correct in saying that this approach doesn’t leave room for fellowship, forming strong relationships with other brothers & sisters in Christ, and being accountible for living out your faith the rest of the week. We Catholics go to Mass for a different reason, of course, to worship Christ and receive his body. But still, we also have a need for fellowship as well. If they invite a Catholic to their group, saying, “please go to Mass as well; we want you to remain faithful to your own Church too”, there doesn’t seem to be a problem in accepting?

I realize that there are small-group community movements within the Catholic church as well, and that’s wonderful. I just don’t see why we can’t have it all–Mass with fellow Catholics, solid teaching from our magesterium, AND close fellowship with Christians of all kinds.

Most home-churchers seem to be coming out of Protestantism, but I’m curious if anyone knows of people with this non-doctrinal fellowship-based mindset converting to or from the Catholic Church? (For example, are any of the stories in the Surprised by Truth series relevant?)
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I find nothing wrong with meeting other Christians for prayer or discussion/ fellowship. As long as they are open to the Catholic point of view. I have attended many Protestant Sunday school and other gatherings where the Catholic view and explaination was welcome. A person must however be solid and well grounded in their Catholic teaching so that they can detect the differences in belief no matter how small they may seem. We here have for the last 12 years on and off met at local restruants to openly read Scripture, with Catechisms and other material out on the table. Anyone is welcome to sit down and join us and we have a sign on the table stating that. We have attracted many Protestant or non-Christian visitors and have answered many questions from the waitresses taking care of us.

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I find nothing wrong with meeting other Christians for prayer or discussion/ fellowship. As long as they are open to the Catholic point of view. I have attended many Protestant Sunday school and other gatherings where the Catholic view and explaination was welcome. A person must however be solid and well grounded in their Catholic teaching so that they can detect the differences in belief no matter how small they may seem…
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This is an excellent point and my experience as well. Catholic convert from the Baptist church Steve Ray has a good article on this very point found here:

catholic-convert.com/Portals/57ad7180-c5e7-49f5-b282-c6475cdb7ee7/Documents/EcumenicalBibleStudy.doc

[quote=Fidelis]No matter what they choose or not choose to call themselves, they are indeed Protestants if their theology is built on the classic planks of the Protestant Reformation–Scripture alone, faith alone… to call them non-doctrinal is inaccurate… yes, the SBT books are excellent examples of these types of stories.
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That’s what I thought too, living in the Midwest back in the 20th century. But now in 21st century Idaho, I’m forced to recognize that Protestantism, defined as faithfulness to the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, etc., is dying. Almost every mainline denomination is shrinking; the internal struggles are tearing them apart. But before we Catholics can say “I told you so”, we need to wake up to what is taking their place. These guys I meet with are greatly dissatisfied with traditional Protestant theology and practice. They don’t believe “faith alone”, as I said affirming what you believe on Sunday is not as important to them as getting out and doing good works the rest of the week. I’m not even sure if they believe in “Scripture alone”–since intellectually studying the Bible is not the answer for them, only loving God and one another will help us know Christ more intimately. That leaves the door open to a lot of Catholic ideas… “Mary assumed into heaven? Well it sounds a little strange but I guess it was possible. The eucharist is the true body of Christ? Well I guess that is what Jesus said. Sacramental confession? Yah, I can see how that would be very helpful for accountability. Asking saints to pray for us? Why not!” The primary resistance I get is to our church structure–the huge Catholic parish I attend reminds them too much of the Protestant mega-churches that are focused more on the Pastor than on Christ, and the thought of taking a class like RCIA to join is just way too passive/submissive. They are big on the church being a mystical spiritual body, defined by relationships not confined to any organization. So I don’t know what approach to take; handing them a story of someone who switched from Presbyterian to Catholic would be about as meaningful to them as a story of someone who switched from Buddhist to Hindu. :rolleyes: Since they can’t relate with the initial state or the outcome, they’d say it’s a neutral move–switched from one big traditional structure to another.

[quote=abraham]That’s what I thought too, living in the Midwest back in the 20th century. But now in 21st century Idaho, I’m forced to recognize that Protestantism, defined as faithfulness to the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, etc., is dying. Almost every mainline denomination is shrinking; the internal struggles are tearing them apart. But before we Catholics can say “I told you so”, we need to wake up to what is taking their place. These guys I meet with are greatly dissatisfied with traditional Protestant theology and practice. They don’t believe “faith alone”, as I said affirming what you believe on Sunday is not as important to them as getting out and doing good works the rest of the week. I’m not even sure if they believe in “Scripture alone”–since intellectually studying the Bible is not the answer for them, only loving God and one another will help us know Christ more intimately. That leaves the door open to a lot of Catholic ideas… “Mary was without sin? Well it sounds a little strange but I guess it was possible. The eucharist is the true body of Christ? Well I guess that is what Jesus said. Sacramental confession? Yah, I can see how that would be very helpful for accountability.” The primary resistance I get is to our church structure–the huge Catholic parish I attend reminds them too much of the Protestant mega-churches that are focused more on the Pastor than on Christ. They are big on the church being a mystical spiritual body, not confined to any organization. So I don’t know what approach to take; handing them a story of someone who switched from Presbyterian to Catholic would be about as meaningful to them as a story of someone who switched from Buddhist to Hindu. :rolleyes: Since they can’t relate with the initial state or the outcome, they’d say it’s a neutral move–switched from one big traditional structure to another.
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This is a very thoughtful post, and as a convert, I find it rings quite true.

i am all for a home based meeting as long as a Priest is present… :cool:

i know several people personally who lost their faith in the church primarilly because they we led astray by someone who thought he knew “the rest of the story” and those that were there knew less than most 4th graders about their faith. :confused:

it all started with the “Renew” program instituted by the Arch-diocese… :rolleyes:

these groupy things are dangerous… and i am not dumping on all of them… it’s just you take a number of well meaning individuals and they assume they know what scripture means, (a whole lot like these forums) … and they have no business interpreting scripture, or trying to convince others with little or no catechesis about the way to live… :cool:

yep, have a priest present, go bowling :thumbsup:

[quote=abraham]I am curious about experiences with home-based fellowship groups.
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I grew up in one. My family and sometimes a few others met together for Bible study. We frequently attended churches in the vicinity, but never joined.

As another thread noted, it’s not correct to call thee groups “Protestants” (because they’re not protesting any doctrines), or even “Churches” though they may meet on Sunday mornings

I don’t think “Protestant” necessarily has anything to do with “protesting doctrines.” That’s a popular notion that lets people disown the word, which a vast number of people dislike. But this allergy to one’s own history is one of the worst problems of Protestantism. Letting people say they aren’t Protestants is giving them a pass on the most destructive aspect of Protestantism. Protestantism’s a complex thing, and it mutates into all sorts of forms. For my money, any Christian group that derives from the Reformation (even if only as a split from a split from a split from a split ten times removed) is Protestant. My family were certainly Protestants (and admitted as much), and our way of looking at the Christian faith was deeply shaped by Protestant tradition. Let people stop calling themselves Protestants and you enable the delusion that they are just getting their ideas straight from the Bible unmediated by tradition.

Similarly, they may not want to be called churches (we didn’t either), but if the house group is their primary religious identity, then it is their church whether they want to admit it or not.

From my experience they are reacting to the “mega-church” mentality,

Those you know may well be. But house churches were around before megachurches.

I would encourage you to attend a group like this while continuing to practice Catholicism. But then, I’m a Protestant myself. My wife and I attend an Episcopal church and a Methodist church every Sunday.

In Christ,

Edwin

[quote=Contarini]II would encourage you to attend a group like this while continuing to practice Catholicism. But then, I’m a Protestant myself. My wife and I attend an Episcopal church and a Methodist church every Sunday.

In Christ,

Edwin
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Ok why don’t you attend a Catholic Mass while you practice Protestantism? This person is not wanttig to from catholcism why are you pushing her in that directions when she does suggest such a thing. Maybe I should come to your church and pass out catholic tracts at the door when I know you don’t want them. You retort to low tactics you have a lot of JW in you.

As a Catholic ones first priority should be to meet you weekly obligation of Sunday Mass however there should be no problem of a group bible study from a catholic point of view once the weekly sunday obligation of mass has been met a good one is the little rock scripture study like my parish has

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