by Rad Zdero
This concise and highly readable book brings another perspective to the growing phenomenon of house churches.
William Carey Library, P.O. Box 40129, Pasadena, CA 91114, 2004, 141 pages, $12.99.
—Reviewed by J. D. Payne, assistant professor of church planting and evangelism, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
This concise and highly readable book brings another perspective to the growing phenomenon of house churches. Zdero, who earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Queens’ University in Kingston, Canada, has been involved in cell and house church planting for many years and is the co-founder of House Church Canada.
The book begins by laying the vision for house churches. The second chapter discusses the author’s journey into the world of house churches. Chapters three and four address biblical and historical support for house churches. Chapter five consists of a discussion of ten declarations to call the Church to renewal, reform, and obedience to Christ. Chapters six and seven discuss practical and strategic issues regarding house church planting and movements. The book concludes with chapter eight and several appendices.
The thesis of this work is to call the Church to the house church expression for both life and global mission. Zdero believes the form and function of church is prescribed in the Scriptures as illustrated by the Apostolic pattern of house churches.
There are several strengths of this work. First, readers are challenged to become more biblical in their ecclesiology. Though some would disagree with his interpretations, Zdero does attempt to allow the Scriptures to support his convictions, and challenges us to discard many of our cultural understandings of the church that detract from a healthy ecclesiology and mission. Second, though some within the house church movement have abandoned evangelism, Zdero emphasizes this vital component of church life. Third, Zdero has done an excellent job attempting to balance the theoretical and the practical issues of house church life in a concise, easy-to-read fashion. Fourth, though Zdero is emphatic that the house church structure is a biblical prescription, he does state that his desire is “not to tear down anything that God is doing in and through the traditional church” (132).
Zdero’s hermeneutic is not always convincing. At times, he sees prescriptive elements of house church life in certain verses of Scripture that could easily be interpreted as solely descriptive elements of first century church life. Second, though Zdero describes house church life and movements in China, India, Cuba, Africa, Europe, North and South America, these descriptions are usually for illustrative purposes only. Little space is devoted to a discussion of a “global house church movement.”
This is an excellent work that will challenge and inspire readers. Church planters, strategy coordinators, mission strategists and missiologists will greatly benefit from this resource regardless of their geographical location.
Copyright © 2005 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.