Do I Have To Go To Church?

Country Church

Country Church

Yep, sure do. At least that’s the answer I give when a Christian asks me the question. I will sidestep the arguments around what “a church” means, if “home churches” are ‘okay’ or not, and if “mega-churches” have the Spirit at all, and focus on the idea that Christians need to meet with, lean on, and support other believers.

Another question I get is, “If I don’t go to church can I be saved”? This question is usually asked because people don’t want to associate with Christians, or just don’t like other people very much at all. Of course, we can do exactly nothing to move us even one iota closer to salvation, church or no church. We are asked to associate with other believers though, and we’re told to like it! Don’t believe me? Check out John 13:35 and let me know what you think?

So, we will love one another when we follow Christ. If He loves us, and we love Him, then we will love His family. What is the earthly church if it isn’t the family of believers? It stands to reason that if you love people, that you will want to be with them some of the time. It seems impossible – to me – that a person could say “yes” to Christ, but “no” to His church.

Let’s examine some of the analogies that describe the church in Scripture:

  • The church is a building and Christ is the foundation. Who could say “yes” to the foundation and “no” to the building that sits on it?
  • The church is His bride. Who can say “yes” to the groom and “no” to the bride?
  • The church is His body. Who can say “yes” to the head, then “no” to the body?

To love the Lord is to love His church. One final point on ‘church attendance’ is this; when Saul was persecuting the church (arresting Christians), the Lord appeared to him in a blinding light and asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Rejecting the church is rejecting Christ just as logically as persecuting the church is persecuting Christ.

So, what does this all mean practically? It means to stop projecting the weaknesses of believers onto Christ as an excuse for non-attendance. It means to stop rationalizing your reasons for staying home on Sunday (or Saturday). It means to cast off the earthly reasons why you might not want to go, and realize that – as believers – we come together with the local body on a regular basis, and we love them. (Again, I won’t go into the rare occurrences like, “I live on an island and there are four other people here”. Meet with the four then and if they aren’t Christians, witness to them.) I am talking to the other 99% of believers who – with varying frequency – use the weaknesses of other believers to rationalize church non-attendance. Stop it, just stop it.

If your excuses sound pale and hollow here on earth, what do you think they will sound like in an infinitely large space in front of the throne at the end of time?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 7:05 and is filed under Ecclesiology, Faith. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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