I recently read a report showing that less than 20 percent of the people in this country attend church on a regular basis. Not a shocking revelation, obviously. It’s said that America is a “Christian nation,” but the empty pews have long been calling that claim into question.
Yet not everyone sees dwindling church attendance as a problem. Not even every church leader agrees. For instance, my wife alerted me to a blog post she noticed popping up on her newsfeed here and there. It’s written by a self-identified pastor from North Carolina named John Pavlovitz, and titled, “Relax Christians, You Don’t Have To Go To Church.”
Of course, a pastor telling Christians not to go to church is like a dentist warning his patients not to brush their teeth. It’s absurd and self-defeating, to put it mildly. But I don’t want to pick on this Pavlovitz guy, mainly because I fear drawing too much attention, and thus giving a platform, to yet another heretical “pastor.” What I’d like to do is use him as a jumping off point to tackle the common anti-church talking points you always hear from the unchurched crowd.
First of all, when inspecting those talking points, you’ll notice that they never seem to answer the most basic question: Why not go? OK, you don’t think the Bible mentions going to church (it does, and we’ll get to that in a minute), but why not go regardless? The Bible never specifically requires us to say grace before dinner or pray with our children before bed, but why wouldn’t you do it anyway? I understand we might skip prayers some nights because we’re lazy or think we’re “too busy” or whatever, but to boycott them in principle because the Bible never says, “Pray with your children each night”? Does that seem like the right approach? Does abandoning church seem like the right approach?
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Seriously, what reason do we really have? After all, if we’re throwing out something that Christians have considered crucial to their faith for 2,000 years, the burden of proof is on us. We Christians in America are always demanding that someone explain to us why we ought to do the kinds of things Christians have always done. But nobody ever tosses the question back at us: Why shouldn’t you?
The other day I told my daughter to clean the playroom. She became somewhat indignant at the idea. “Why should I clean it?” Sure, I could have provided her with practical reasons. I could have given her the old “Because I said so,” and that certainly would have been a fine and definitive answer. But instead I tried out the Socratic method.
“Why shouldn’t you clean it?”
“Um. Uh. Well…”
“Exactly. Now get to work.”
And that was the end of the conversation.
I won’t make that the end of this conversation, though.
So let’s start here: Historically speaking, Christians have always met for corporate worship and prayer. Sure, as anti-church Christians point out with extreme satisfaction, the Apostles didn’t build cathedrals or use words like “pew” or ”usher.” Reliable sources inform me that the ancients didn’t have brunch in the fellowship hall following service, either. According to my research, most churches back in the old days didn’t even hold annual ice cream socials. Clearly this means our entire notion of joining together in worship and sacrifice on Sunday — the day the Lord rose from the dead (Matthew 28:1), the day he appeared to the Apostles (John 20:26), the day he sat at table with His disciples and broke bread with them (Luke 24:25), the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1) — is completely arbitrary.
Or maybe not. The early Christians may not have had beautiful buildings or raffle drawings at the church bazaar, but they did meet in homes and caves and anywhere else they could manage. Acts tells us the first believers still convened for a while in synagogues to pray (Acts 2:46). As they became increasingly unwelcome in the temples, they were forced to meet in secret. But still they met.
I’m sure they would have liked to construct their own temples, but any house of worship they built would have been burned to the ground immediately. That’s why they didn’t have buildings. For the same reason Christians in Afghanistan or Syria or Iraq today do not have buildings. To ask why Christians under Roman persecution didn’t meet in church buildings is like going to Falujah, noticing that all of the churches are empty or demolished, and concluding that Iraqi Christians must have a relaxed attitude about church attendance.
Indeed, for hundreds of years, Christians across the known world risked torture and execution in order to come together and worship. But still they gathered, whether in tunnels or houses or wherever, enduring considerable danger and discomfort just so that they could celebrate their faith as one community. St. Justin, born just a few decades after St. Peter was martyred, revealed under interrogation by Roman authorities that he met with his brothers and sisters in faith at his own residence. There they preached, prayed, baptized, and had communion. Shortly after that admission, Justin and his co-defendents were tortured and beheaded.
You can read the full article on the Author’s blog Lame excuses for not going to church
it irked me when I hear some christian gives lame reasons for not attending church, is it that they feel too important to go or rather pure laziness is having a good time with them. The church that many were martyred for to established, but just because you were born in the millennial, you therefore possess the superior intellectual reasoning to discard what many lives were lost to established.
When the bible mention the fact that we are not suppose to neglect the gathering of the brethren, was it referring to the neflix and chill brethren. Now if you cant spent five minutes with a brother or sister of the faith because your tolerate- o – meter is way down below unbearable, how then do you handle the fact that the same brother/sister could be the one you are sitting beside at the marriage supper. how do you handle the awkwardness and then the scrolls of explanation and thesis you’d be prepare to convince Jesus why you cant sit with the individual.
Church is not just a building or the conglomerates of seas of head, perhaps you need to read Hebrews 12 vs 22 downward to have a grasp of the spiritual entity that is Zion (church). the truth is no matter how hot the anointing or revelation you possess that makes you church resistant, in no time the whole thing will die down
the absolute truth is there is no perfect church anywhere in the world because it consist of imperfect people on their way to perfection. Neglecting church for lame reason is an insult to what Christ did. All members of a congregation are equally important to God irrespective of their facial, racial, social, educational or spiritual status. If you can stand the members of your local assembly, how then do you think you can serve God better. you an simply an hypocrites. it is better to remain an unbeliever than becomes a believer and then neglect.
Different cultist and fetish religious associations and religions have a shrine, a coven or whatever hideous place where they congregate and yet you think you can survive long by having fellowship with your family members alone?
Except you are indisposed or physically challenge to find your way to church, you have no excuse whatsoever no matter how logically stimulating they might sound
May God grant us (christian understanding) understanding
Written by Immanuel
The Dream Inc(2016). All right reserved