In a recent article called “Five Reasons Why You Need To Attend Church,” the author explains why Christians need to “attend” church. He starts off by saying that “in some circles, it’s vogue to disassociate yourself from the local church,” and that “Some leave the impression that they’ve grown beyond the need for regular worship in a local congregation.”
I think we need to take great caution in criticizing the brethren or judging them by the way they gather. I have been guilty of this. With the growth of smaller, more organic gatherings an ecclesiastical divide is widening all over the world.
The author uses Hebrews 10:24-25 and says it “commands us:”
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This verse and it’s classic argument, namely “you must go to church,” is not only unbiblical, but spiritual abuse. We must absolutely not forsake the assembling of ourselves, but “going to a church” to do so is neither commanded here or implied. One has said, “It’s a theological impossibility to ‘go to church.’”
Lets take a look at the 5 reasons from the article:
Red letters are the original author’s, and the black are my comments.
1. It edifies you ~ Of course we are edified when we gather with other believers. The body needs its other parts to grow and function. The author states that we may not like the sermon or the music, but we will grow by “regular attending church so that we can be fed the word of God.” Whether implied purposefully or not, I think we should be carful in accepting that we are “fed” in church. How many times have you heard a person say “I’m not getting fed in that church.” The goal for the believer is to feed upon God, to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8 Standing in a free cheese line waiting to be fed is certainly not a New Testament idea. We can be edified by whatever form our gatherings take. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a church.
2. It provides an opportunity to serve others ~ “When you attend church you learn of the needs of Christian brothers and sisters and are motivated to minister to them and pray for them. It’s not all about you.” If you have to go to church to “learn of the needs” of your brothers and sisters, then chances are you are not of the church. The needs of the brethren should be known by you simply from living amongst them. If you’re only discovering the saints needs in a place once a week something is wrong.
3. It testifies to the lost ~ “When your neighbors see you drive out the driveway every Sunday morning they know where you are going. When the golfer drives by the church building on Sunday morning and sees the cars in the parking lot, he is reminded of where he should be.” Wow! Seriously? Since when is getting into a car a christian virtue? How about not getting into the car and walking over to your neighbor and loving him like you love God? How about being an example of what he should be instead of “where” he should be?
4. It encourages others ~ “Just attending church spurs others on toward love and good deeds.” It’s not the attending of church and seeing what people do in that place that inspires believers. It’s being the church that inspires believers. When we have to “go to church” to be inspired, then we can almost be guaranteed that our time outside of church is less than Christ wants for us.
5. God commands it ~ “Enough said.” Nope, God doesn’t command it. He wants us unified. He wants us to gather or assemble ourselves often. He wants us to be mutually encouraging. But, He never commands us to go to church.
I am not anti-church. I am anti-churchiness. I have not grown beyond the need for gathering with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I must be careful in judging or being over critical with my church family if they are gathering in an institutional church or if they are gathering in someone’s home. Assembling ourselves for some of the reasons above is admirable. Demanding that it is in a specific place at a specific time for specific purposes is not admirable or honorable. A few questions:
Where is scripture does it say we must go to church?
Is the popular phrase, “Be the Church,” theologically correct?
What direct correlation is there between attending church & Making Disciples?