I receive many emails from people looking for a house church. Here are some things to keep in mind. In our early days of enjoying freedom from “the system” of institutional religiosity, it is very easy to assume that anyone involved with house churches must be safe. Not so. We still need to exercise much discernment even regarding house or home churches as they are often called. There are some very bad home churches and that is to be expected. Here’s why:
Christians who have finally figured out the dangers of the teachings and traditions of men are leaving the institutional church in favor of house churches. Praise God. But the devil is right there to ruin as many as he can. There are many authoritarian house churches that are nothing more than mini institutional churches dominated by ambitious men. These places have pretty much the same trappings as larges churches but just on a much smaller scale. So I have found that it is usually better to plant than to search.
Even worse, attempts at bashing and maligning the Bible are far more frequent in house church circles than usually in the institutional professing Christian churches! I would say even among Word of Faith heretics, though many try to bash the idea of doctrine itself, very few would dare to verbally, openly and publicly try to discredit the overall Bible itself. We have men like Gene Edwards, Frank Viola and Darin Hufford, etc. to thank for starting and / or supporting this horrible movement. Watch out for their teachings.
They teach some correct things about the dangers of the modern church and then just when people think that they are safe with these guys, they foolishly drop their guards and start to accept the heresies that these men also teach. Edwards and his band of merry followers such as Viola have claimed to be new "Apostles" whose "authority" home church people must follow in order to be blessed by God. For want of their “approval” not forthcoming, it has been reported that a number of home churches have disbanded. These men have apparently caused the demise of many home fellowships.
Darin Hufford, who may or may not be connected to Gene Edwards, is one of the scariest teachers that I have ever heard. On one of his audio messages, I actually heard him mock God's judgments and by doing so call God’s character into question. Darin seems to have a problem understanding that God is a God of love and a God of judgment (which is part of His love). Darin seems to promote a “god” who is only a god of love but not a god of judgment. This is not the God of the Bible. While some of Mr. Hufford’s teachings on peripheral church and relational matters are fairly decent, other of his teachings are laced with subtle and sometimes even blatant comments against the Bible. This is similar to the teachings of Gene Edwards, Frank Viola and many others.
Darin Hufford objects to my opinion of his teachings, and in one of his private emails to me, he said that I have too much respect for the Bible. Well, it is impossible to have too much respect for the Bible, but I will take that as a compliment. I think his comment reveals many things and is pretty much all we need to know about Darin Hufford.
All of these dangerous teachers claim to uphold the Bible while they seem to work petty hard to try and discredit it. Whether they realize it or not, they do much to undermine the trust the Christians have in God’s written Word. I am not saying that what any of these men are doing is intentional but something does not have to be intentional to bring about disastrous results. Talk about confusion and chaos, it's often just as bad or worse in some house church circles. So be careful. Never drop your guard even for a minute. Always check out everything that anyone teaches (even me) from the Bible to make sure that it is accurate.
Also be on guard against what is known as the Cell Church movement and the G-12 movement. These are some very abusive house church movements that have set out to gain control of as many Christians as possible all for a larger manmade agenda. Lot’s of institutional churches offer what they call home groups. These are controlled by authoritarian systems and are not genuine autonomous Biblical house churches by any stretch of the imagination.