Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | June 18, 2007

Why Are We Told to Affiliate with a Church?

Why Are We Told to Affiliate with a Church?

I think the question of why Christians need to attend church is a very important one. Based on what the Bible says, I don’t believe the “solitary path” is an option for Christians.

Many people interpret the following passage to mean that Christians are not to pray with others (text is from the New International Version of the Holy Bible): “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what it done in secret, will reward you.”-Matthew 6:5-6

In context, though, this means that Christians are not to pray publicly for the sake of drawing attention to themselves or demonstrating their piety. This passage should NOT be interpreted to mean that Christians may not pray in the presence of others.

The Bible as a whole demonstrates the public worship has always been a central part of Jewish and Christian belief. (The Old Testament alone has MANY examples of such worship). Christianity, as it’s shown throughout the New Testament, is a community-centered faith. The early Christian community gathered on Sundays for the breaking of the bread, or communion. (While some Sabbatarians believe the gatherings would have been on Saturday night, in Jewish reckoning, this would have actually been Sunday) This is still the practice of many churches. Much of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is focused on appropriate behavior at prayer services. Obviously, this was very important to the Christian community.

Probably the strongest argument for church attendence is from the Book of Hebrews: “10:25 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.”

Due to persecution, some had fallen away from attending worship services. Most of the Christian community, however, continued to practice their faith, even if it meant death. If community worship was important enough for them, no matter what the risk, it should still be important to all Christians today.

What about a Christian who is aware of this but still refuses to fellowship with others? I won’t attempt to judge others, but Hebrews 10:26-27, states: “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

While only God can rightfully judge who goes to heaven or hell, Christians should not go back to their old ways once they have become believers, because to do so may have serious consequences.

Also, since the Body of Christ is made up of all believers, we all need to be a part of the larger Christian community, “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”-I Corinthians 12:14-20

A “church of one” isn’t really a part of God’s plan for the Body of Christ.

I hope this helps, and God Bless.


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