Time magazine has a recent article about house churches entitled There’s No Pulpit Like Home.
Within the article is a paragraph describing the classic argument against house churches. (Comments in red are mine.)
Critics fret that small, pastorless groups can become doctrinally or even socially unmoored. (Because really the great commission is so complex that Jesus left it only to those with seminary degrees so the rest of us wouldn’t screw it up.) Thom Rainer, a Southern Baptist who has written extensively on church growth, says, “I have no problem with where a church meets, but I do think that there are some house churches that, in their desire to move in different directions, have perhaps moved from biblical accountability.” (Of course this never happens in traditional churches, right?) In extreme circumstances home churches dominated by magnetic but unorthodox leaders can shade over the line into cults. (Is the magnetic, unorthodox cult leader with 12 people following him more dangerous than the magnetic, unorthodox cult leader with 200 people following him?)
Yes, I’ve heard these words in many conversations about house churches–dangerous, unaccountable, heresy. Be very afraid. The only safe place to serve God is with your butt in a pew following the designated expert without question. Baa, Baa.