Roomate#2: (Yawning) No, not today. Next week.
Roomate #1: Come on! You said that the last couple of weeks. And when was the last time you’ve been to church?
Roomate#2: It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to go to church to prove that I love God. I can pray at home. Besides, I’m more spiritual anyway. And those people are crazy!
Ahhh, the case of ‘I don’t need to go to church to praise God’ syndrome. Such was the paradigm in a recent article that I read entitled “Shifting Faith: One Nation under God, but not necessarily in the church.” The basis of the article is that people are seeing less of a need and importance to attend church and are exploring other options to tap into their spiritual side and God. Here are a few quotes from the article:
-“As people get to know God on their own terms, they will likely embrace new ways of worship…”
-“We have so many other options for faith in our culture folks no longer have to go to church to feel connected to God.”
-“I try to live a Christian lifestyle without having to be tied into going to church every Sunday.”
– “After a while all that pomp and circumstance wastes time. All that kneeling and walking to the altar. It’s too much.”
Really? Okay, first let me say that going to church is not the basis for a relationship with God, and yeah, maybe folks can get a little dramatic. However, we should not underestimate the importance of attending service regularly. Now, let’s take it to the Word. In Hebrews 10:25 it tells us that we should not forsake gathering ourselves together, and 2 Corinthians 2:11 states that we are not ignorant of the devil’s devices. Attending church frequently is important for reasons such as fellowshipping with other believers, gaining encouragement from other believers, getting insight to the scriptures, and even having others to hold you accountable in the event that you start to go astray. Of course we don’t have to be in church to do these things, but there is something about the body of Christ coming together in one place on one accord to worship. There’s a reason why the Bible says not to forsake it. This new way of worship is just another means of division amongst Christians, and little by little moves us away from what the Word of God says. If each one found their own way it would be them setting the standard for their faith as opposed to your faith setting the standard for you. When we start to introduce our own philosophies instead of God’s, we are in big trouble.
In all fairness, the original article did get the point of view from those who still support the act of attending church. But I wanted to share my two cents. The article highlighted Rev. James Ellis who wrote an essay, entitled “The Black Church Is Alive (Don’t Call it a Comeback)”, in reference to the debate.
Clearly, forgetting the church is a strategy and device to get us to move away from God, even though many may think that it will help them to grow closer to him. The church has its purpose and it’s there for a reason. Don’t allow new doctrines and supposed “alternate means of spiritual fulfillment” to lead you think otherwise. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Amen.