The first churches met in houses. Common sense suggests the saints assembled in the living room of houses. How was the seating arranged? Does it matter?
We have no law on the configuration of the assembly. But it still matters. The point is the arrangement was informal. It is likely the saints sat in such a way as to face one another. If the saints are to minister one to another, shall they not face one another? Is this not a precondition, or at least an enablement, for fellowship? Further, it manifests an equality among the brethren. Ye are all brethren.
The house church arrangement was conducive to the Corinthian arrangement for multiple speakers, 1 Cor. 14. The two were mutually compatible.
By contrast, the arrangement in the churches-in-buildings is not conducive to fellowship. It is not conducive to multiple speakers. It is not in accord with the Corinthian arrangement. I do not say fellowship is impossible there. I say the arrangement is not conducive to it.
The saints are to assemble for the purpose of exhorting (encouraging) one another, Heb. 10:25. How do we encourage one another when all are facing the front? And what, exactly, is meant by "the front of the church?" I understand the utility of this arrangement on occasion. But the church has made it into law. Or it is dogma, that is, something that is unquestioned. One of the Greek words from which we obtain "ordinance" is dogma. In other words, the church has made the pulpit/pew arrangement into a matter of tradition, something unquestioned.
The arrangement in the churches-in-buildings is conducive to preaching and one-man teaching. But preaching is for the unsaved and for new converts. One-man teaching supplies that which is lacking in a church, 1 Thes. 3:10. It is not needed continually, or even regularly, but, rather, occasionally. We would all welcome Paul coming and teaching in our churches! But Paul of all men would not dominate the teaching week after week. One-man teaching, practiced continually, impedes the mutual ministry of the saints as the latter is indicated in Romans 15:14, 1 Cor. 14, Romans 12, or Hebrews 5:12. It is at cross-purposes with Paul's avowed intention to perfect the saints, 1 Thes. 3:10, Eph. 4:12.
I understand the reconfiguration of seating arrangements to accommodate special events. But the "pulpit/pew" arrangement is permanent in the vast majority of churches. The pews are even nailed to the floor. That is called institutionalizing a problem.
Why did the churches jettison the house church tradition so easily? Is it perhaps a result of the transition of the church from "underground" status to social respectability?
At the time of the edict of Constantine (or "Edict of Milan") legalizing Christianity in 313 A.D., many pressed into the churches. No doubt there was considerable "church growth" in the ensuing years. That, in concert with rising ecclesiasticism, led to the institutionalization of the church. The revised arrangement for the assembly—row upon row of pews facing a pulpit—has continued unaltered to the present day.
If it is true that form follows function, and not the other way around, then the circular house church arrangement for assemblies is vastly superior to the pulpit/pew arrangement. However it is only a means to an end, and nothing more. There is nothing sacrosanct about either arrangement. The relevant distinction between the two is that the former facilitates fellowship, while the latter impedes fellowship.
The apostles never championed house churches. They only acted as if house churches were standard practice. Lacking sufficient reason to ignore the apostles on this, I will imitate them.