Even though it's technically possible to live the Christian life in isolation, it's certainly not the norm nor should it be. There has always been Christians who have been hurt by an abusive institution or pastor and they run away from fellowship. The healing process for such family members differs according to their level of maturity and how much they abide in Christ.
By God's Grace and to His Glory there are many beautiful and healthy churches out there doing the Lord's work, so is really inexcusable not to obey God's design for us in this topic.
I do not ignore that there are times when it's recommended to depart from an unhealthy Church. God may lead us out due to the abuse or false doctrine that is being done and taught, but this and the cases of people who are in a hospital bed, or working in an isolated area where no church exists, are among the exceptions.
When you become a Christian, you are called into a relationship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9. But I John 1:3 makes it clear that we enter a fellowship that goes two ways: with God and with other Christians.
Many others have exchange the local church for the "Church on the TV or internet" there are legitimate reasons for this options God has blessed us with, but most don't want to deal with the challenges belonging to the church brings up. Dying to self, practicing sacrificial love etc...
Talents are best nurtured in solitude, but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world. Quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Luke 10:1-3 Jesus sends the seventy-two in pairs
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20, NKJV)
"Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge." (1Corinthians 14:29)
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6
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. Hebrews 10:25
Family how do you justify not fellowshipping in a local church. Let’s talk about it in love. :)
David, a very thought provoking subject. I can only offer my personal opinion on the subject.
I think that we don't really need a church in the modern world. Salvation is personal to an individual. There is the possibility that a church may teach a doctrine that is according to their understanding and not to your own understanding thereby corrupting you as an individual and leading you onto a path that leads to destruction. Yeshua has taught us to abandon tradition and praying repetitively. We are to open our hearts to God and talk to Him as you would talk to a friend or neighbour, albeit with reverence and respect. There are now thousands of churches and they each preach their own version of the bible. This can be very confusing to an individual. You go to one church one Sunday and go to another on a different day and you will find contradictions.
All one needs is a good bible and an open mind to accept God into your heart. Soon all churches will be defunct.
Dear Sister Amanda,
Churches are already defunct. Churches today do not really serve any real need for the salvation of mankind. People generally go to church for a feel good factor. Most people think that if they attend church evey Sunday and when they die they will immediately go to heaven. This is one of the false teachings that the church teaches today. Throughout Christendom now there are churches that are competing with each other. For example, one Christian denomination thinks that they are far better than their neighbouring denomination just down the road.
The church today exists as an institution serving it's own purpose. Many churches today are in it for the money. Many preachers become preachers just to have an easy life without doing any real work.
Ever since the Romans destroyed the Temple of God in Jerusalem c70 AD the temple has been transferred to the heart of man. Therefore, there is no need to go to a church. In many respects a person goes to church to show the people around them that they are God fearing and they are holy. These people are deluding themselves and God.
You are passing judgment on Christians around the world. Of the millions of Christians around the world I wonder how many you know personally?
Of the people groups around the world that have been reached with the gospel in the last 150 years I assure you most have been reaced by churches sending missionaries and not lone ranger Christians traveling abroad with the gospel.
The N.T. authors wrote to the church that met at "such and such" place. They were joining together. The need for the temple expired when Jesus rose from the grave. It just was not destroyed until 70 AD.
Yes LT, what I was talking about was the group of people who go to church to be seen. There is a group of people that goes to church on a Sunday morning or evening then go straight to a bar get drunk and merry making.
All I'm saying is that one does not need a church to find salvation. You do not need to go to church to find God.
But your choice of words does not delineate between those who go for the right reason and people who go for the wrong reason. You have lumped them together as one group and that is unfair.
How many of those people who go straight to the bar in the evening do you know personally? Are they really the majority?
Misty Eyes -
We have no choice in the matter, we are the church, the body of Christ and union with Christ is union with the Church. We are not called to be loners in Christ, but to fellowship, that of course raises all sorts of challenges from which many run from instead of embracing them and trusting God will lead us to all truth and victory.
We are to edify one another and to grow through the challenges found in the many facets of the gathering of the saints. We should never run from such, but mature to the point where we can be a blessing, an edifying force.
Love to you brother
While I see what Misty is getting at, I have to agree with Amanda and others.
I do not believe you need to go or belong to a church proper to to be a Christian. I was born Roman Catholic, Later joined an ELCA which I still belong to. My family and I have been attending Bible study and service at a non-denominational over the last several months. They all believe the same important part, Jesus and what he has done for us.
Although they have several differences which I do not subscribe to, I am happy for them in that they have that belief in Jesus and the teachings of the New Testiment.
Yes, some folks go to church on Sunday and seem to leave their faith at the door when they leave. But I say seem because I do not know whats in their hart and can only pray that what seems to be only a superficial faith is actually much more.
I think the reason for attending or belonging to a church is for the fellowship. I have learned a lot from others at our church. I enjoy the sermons, songs, readings and yes even the coffee and doughnuts. This time together with other believers is inspireing. I believe God wants us to gather in his name and I will continue to go to church to praise God.
Do we have to...no
I will place this video here to show that I am not ignoring the issues, we the body of Christ have, but those Issues do not excuse us from fellowship, instead they should drive us to edify the body by equipping ourselves with the truth so we can be a blessing.
I used the title of the video I placed on my opening post to entice you into the topic, but the question has only one biblical answer and it’s not negotiable. As water is wet in liquid form and you can't get the wetness out of the water, you can't be in Christ and not be in fellowship with the church you are automatically apart of when you are born again. You should not feel God is ok with that, regardless of what lie the devil has sold you. However that fellowship is carried out, it's essential and mandatory.
Which calls for defining the term fellowship?
This video does an awesome job explaining true Christian fellowship - enjoy :) hu? What’s going on Boss (LT) my tubes are not posting, well here is the link for now.
Appears to be Ning tech issue. There are a couple other things not working correctly at the moment. I will look into it.