Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Why believers should not attend church"

by Al Sabado

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:27)

"Physical church, no. Spiritual church, yes." Whenever I'm asked if I already attend a physical church on Sundays, I just give a brief response about this because no matter how much I talk about it, multitudes are convinced that believers who do not attend a physical church are in the wrong path, and that's not surprising.

Very recently, I came across an article entitled, "Why believers should not attend church" and I agree with what the fellow believer has written there. I encourage you to take the time to read it as well. It's up to you to believe or reject the Biblical perspective it has carefully presented on why as believers we should not attend church. But God has already said in His Word:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
God-fearing men like Abraham and Noah are just a few Biblical examples whose lives attest that, as believers even in our time, we too can walk with God faithfully only because of God's enabling, that is, free from the "ifs" and "buts" of attending a physical church. But the subtly dangerous part is that church members believe they're "helping" fulfill what God has commissioned the believers to do (Matthew 28:19-20) by attending and by becoming members of a physical church. The intention is noble, but the act of striving to do that can lead to endangering the flock. The ambiguous concept of becoming "committed followers" of the Lord Jesus Christ has been attached to the task that churches refer to as the "great commission." (I've intentionally written the words in small letters, for everything that we're assigned to do under the sun ought to be treated with similar importance. God's Word says, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;" [Colossians 3:23].)

Pride creeping in, the power of God's Word missing. We've seen numbing examples of church members pursuing excellence as they give their best in accomplishing church activities. We've seen burnout among the brethren who exert enormous efforts to complete the tasks within church premises. We've seen pride creeping in the hearts of church leaders, workers, and members upon witnessing "their" great accomplishments. We've seen hardworking church members who project strength of character but are actually void of a truthful and meaningful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and with people in general. The list goes on:

The great commission popularized by churches thus gives them the reason to build expensive church structures in which church members are somewhat charismatically manipulated to impart their monetary contribution. But is that part of God's plan?

A megachurch I once attended had the great commission in mind, but after getting busy with raising funds and building an expensive church structure, it's now doing things apart from God's Word. Another megachurch I'd been to is pursuing the same goal of fulfilling the great commission, and it's also following the pattern of raising funds and erecting a huge and similarly expensive church building--in the name of the Lord Jesus and for the glory of God! But in the process, this megachurch has already been blinded by following false teachings, false trends, false array of so-called Christian literature, and especially, false teachers and church leaders promoting man-made plans and non-Biblical principles that mislead church members to become busy with "doing good works" and some, to collaborate with unbelievers, when God's Word commands us not to be equally yoke with such entities (2 Corinthians 6:14). But the Lord Jesus says,
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Not every growth is from God. Many churches follow this pattern of building church structures and growing church memberships to move in that one direction of making disciples of all nations. But any wonder why churches split despite such noble intention? Church workers usually liken the situation to the separation of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:39). That's possible. But haven’t we thought about church divisions taking place because of God's disapproval? Haven't we thought of church divisions similar to that time when thousands of years ago, people planned to build the Tower of Babel and God confounded and scattered its builders (Genesis 11:1-9)? God destroys vain, man-made movements like that, doesn’t He?

We can't be pursuing great things and say we're doing them for God because we're not indispensable, not in a condescending way, but in the realization that God can do things with or without us because He is the sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing God. His hands are never too short, and that assures us that He works according to His plans. God's Word says,
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:26-31)
As believers, we thus understand that even if we don't go to a physical church, we are the very church of the Lord Jesus Christ--and that is our church membership.
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (Romans 8:33)

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Updated: May 2015

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