When “Going to Church” was Coming Home

Act 2:46 – And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart

This is a picture of the earliest discovered (231 AD) Christian home that was used for a meeting place. It was discovered in Syria and is called the Dura-Europos house church. The meeting area is on the left and the baptistery is on the right, toward the back.

I found this interesting quote from Spiro Kostof’s A History of Architecture:

“Indicative of a repressed and plebeian movement, the places of worship were exceedingly modest. Centers for the community were set up in remodeled, outwardly inconspicuous houses… To the first generations of believers the church was where the Christians were. The word ecclesia, “church,” signified the community of Christ that had no need for prescribed buildings to proclaim its faith and reaffirm its bonds. The people were the architecture. In the century or so before Constantine the random gathering places of this primitive Christianity slowly began to be formalized, and with the sudden breakthrough of the imperial conversion, the necessity of a monumental built order to project prestige and authority came to be recognized.”

2 thoughts on “When “Going to Church” was Coming Home

  1. Hey, Kyle. I don’t know why I missed this post, but this is definitely one of my most favorite blog posts of all time. Thanks for sharing! Our culture, at least mine, is so upside down, to make our home an isolated fortress for ourselves. It’s encouraging to learn how the early Christians were actually meeting in their simple homes.

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    • Thanks Katherine! Glad to hear that you like it so much. I really love this quote too, especially the fact that it comes from a third party, Bulgarian professor of architectural history! Kostof focused on urbanism and showed how architecture is embedded in its physical and social context. This couldn’t be more true for the local church. For the first 300 years of church history there were no large, formal church buildings! That blows my mind. The early Christians met in their own houses. This bridges the gap between how we live at church and how we live at home. There should not be a dramatic difference between Sunday and all the other days in the week. Christ is our life and the church should be our living.

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