Ep.1296: Do Christians Have to Go to Church?
Understanding what the Christian church is and what it is not
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Theme Scripture: Revelation 3:22
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples in Matthew 28, “Go and make disciples of all the nations." He told them to baptize these disciples and teach them all that he had taught and commanded them to know and do. Ten days later, God’s spirit came upon the apostles, and this is where the Christian church had its beginning. Fast forward 2,000 years, and we find Christianity divided into countless denominations. We see an apparent decline in Christianity as church attendance seems to be steadily decreasing. So, is going to church a significant marker for being a true Christian? To have a real answer for this question, we need to establish a clear understanding of the scriptural relationship between church and its role in a true Christian’s life.
Where's the church?
Christianity began as a group of individuals who were called out to follow Jesus after his death and resurrection. This group had no organization, except for the apostles and God’s spirit. They had no buildings of their own and would meet wherever they found the space. Often that was at the homes of one another. The point here, is the early church had no church. They had no specific place to go as their official home base of operations. In fact, they themselves were called "the church."
Through the passage of time, this humble beginning became a forgotten fact. As Christianity grew, its focus veered away from simply being called "the church" to making it a destination. In many cases, this destination became more and more elaborate. This led to a focus on the outward appearance of a physical place rather than the inward spiritual growth of those attending. This subtle change and all that comes with it opens up the possibility of a focus that may be spiritually lacking. We are suggesting that in some cases, going to church could very well be a counterproductive activity when it comes to being true disciples of Jesus.
How do I know if I am in such a position of compromise?
Check out our August 28, 2023 podcast, “Do Christians Have to Go to Church?” for answers. We delve into the meaning of “church” in the Bible. It's very different than what we here in the 21st century are used to. Not only does its true meaning serve as a wake-up call, but it also leads us to several other descriptions of what being part of THE church really means.
Each and every one of these descriptions adds deeper understanding as to what our Christianity should be driven by. We learn that meeting together should remain as a relevant part of a Christian’s life. But this activity is not for the purpose of fulfilling a social need or “checking off the box” of doing what we think is required. Join us as we see the Scriptures unfold the amazing privileges and responsibilities that being part of the church requires. Follow these scriptures and church will never be the same!