Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"I believe in God..."

Common occurrence among those who share their faith (once the conversation rolls around to God, church, etc.):

Believer: "Which church to you attend (group of believers that they gather with)?

Friend: relates a bad experience with some "church" or "church member," then goes on to explain that they "believe in God," and how they don't gather or need to gather with a local church (implicitly or explicitly to go to heaven).

Is this theologically true? Yes, one does not have to gather with the church to go to heaven or be right with God (ex. thief on the cross). So those are the two options: gather with a local church or be nailed to the cross until you are dead, and go to heaven directly (do not pass GO, do not collect $200, or attend church).

Just kidding, but really the scripture says,

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" -1 John 3:14

I know, I know, you could love other believers without attending a church gathering. But like a pastor said this weekend, "you can give without loving, but you can't love without giving." And it seems like to me that if one was submitted to the Lordship of Christ in his life, and really loved the brethren, shouldn't they want to be gathering with a group of believers? If Christ thought the church was important enough to lay His life down for her, couldn't we lay down some time and people investment for her? If you love her/them, shouldn't you want to be around them, encouraging them, giving your life away to them, and laying down your life for them? You wouldn't love your family, country, or even chocolate like that. So would it be a stretch to say that you really don't love the brethren if you are not gathering regularly?

Now, don't hear me say something that I am not saying: I am not saying that everyone who is not gathering with the church is not a Christian. I really am simply saying that I worry about those kinds of people. People who claim to believe in Christ, yet casually blow off gathering with His bride (and many other explicit commands). I worry that they are not worried. I worry that their children will not follow a Christ whose value doesn't compel their parents to gather with the bride. I worry that they lull themselves into false security because our culture thinks its OK not to gather with the church. Some need to mend their walk with the Lord, and find a fellowship. Some need to examine whether or not they have passed from death to life at all...

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