As you can tell from the title, I am not trying to make friends here. I am however, serious as a heart attack about the importance of this subject. I understand what I am going to say goes against thousands of years of ingrained religious nonsense, business success concepts brought in to “help” the church, and human traditions meant to replace the absence of theGENUINE.
First let me begin by saying I love the Church. She is formed of the most wonderful, loving, and caring people you would ever want to meet. I truly love this One Church that the Lord Jesus Christ is building. There is no other. There is only one Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. All Christian are members of that Body by virtue of being born again from above.
I am just a one voice, but I join millions worldwide who are waking up and coming out from under the religious bondage and propaganda of a centuries old, corrupt, system. All of this has been fueled by the desire to control others, a “we have always done it like this” mentality and/or, a general lack of faith in God’s ability to provide for His own.
The Lord recognizes no other memberships to local or independent congregations. The Lord recognizes no baptism certificates or ordination papers or any other human external validation. There are many religious clubs and associations that are independent or are connected to denominations who consider themselves also to be part of the Church. Scripture is very clear on that.
2 Tim 2:19 says: Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His. NKJV
We don’t write to judge others. The Lord Himself will judge on that day. We are here to bring truth to God’s people and that TRUTH is a person, The Lord Jesus Christ, not a neat little package of favorite Bible verses that support your style of worship or your favorite theology.
The Lord recognizes no Catholics, Baptist, Assemblies of God, or any other call sign you wish to use. Those are all man made divisions of the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Constantine messed with the church in 300 AD and began building sanctuaries and creating a salaried clergy class (Pastors & Priests) the church probably, in my book, suffered its greatest blow. Man simply should not try to “help” God. We would think that the Roman persecution hurt the church more but instead it caused the church to grow. It was said in those days that the “blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church.”
When the church became a building, man separated secular time with spiritual time. When you are in the building its time to be spiritual, but when you are away that is your time. To a truly born again person such thinking is heresy.
Scripture says we were bought with a price. Calvary wasn’t meant to provide humanity with a get-out –of-hell card, or to pay our dues so we can attend the weekly hour and twenty minute show. People are not laundry “in by 11 dirty out by 1230 clean” and God is not limited to talking only in our “sanctuaries.” Real Christians know we can’t go to Church–we are the Church. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is made up people not brick and mortar or any other building material.
I believe that when the requirement of going somewhere weekly was tied to our ability to hear from God, we had to create pseudo reasons to perpetuate the nonsense.
The following “14 Wrong Reasons for Going to Church” are in progression of how they were taught to me.
1. To celebrate the Lords Day – I was taught that the church exchanged the Jewish Sabbath with celebrating Sunday the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection. Talk about piecing together scripture to come up with that one.
2. To show respect for the Lord by dressing up with our Sunday best. Since when does Christianity care about the externals? Oh, how we have kept thousands out because they were too ashamed of their dress.
3. To go hear the preacher give us the “Word.” Nowhere in the New Testament does the Church have a mediator between God and man like the present pastor/priest system. The word of the Lord was never an exposition of scripture by professional seminary-trained clergy. At best two or three need to speak and every believer is to be mature enough to test the Spirit of what is being said.
4. To give (Pay) our tithes and offerings. More than 80% of a church’s income goes to support two totally unbiblical things: the modern church building and the salaried clergy class. To justify them, we use very selective Old Testament proof texts. However, neither of these concepts are justifiable. These practices simply cannot be found in the New Testament.
5. To bring the “lost” to His house to receive Christ and get “saved.” Until around 1870, no one ever walked up front to receive Christ during an “invitation.” This is another modern invention– that teaches that the front of our church building is the “Holy Place” or altar because it’s higher or decorated differently. New Testament church gatherings were for believers and the lost got saved wherever they were when they had an encounter with Christ. I languished in a denomination that preached salvation sermons every Sunday at “saved” people. Talk about perpetuating immaturity!
6. To worship Him. This is going to come as a shock to many, but real Christians worship the Lord daily with their life. The idea of going once a week to a building to worship God is alien to real Christianity. Worship is not singing prior to the preaching. Worship starts when your feet hit the ground each morning.
7. To use our gifts and our talents. Again, this is another invention of the once a week Christianity. Real Christians operate in their gifts and callings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What part of “DAILY” do we not understand? All of you dying to get the microphone on Sunday morning when was the last time you got a word from the Lord in Wal-Mart?
8. To do ministry (healing & deliverance). When we invented professional clergy, we had to come up with a word for what they did. “Ministry” is a lifestyle of every real Christian. Full-time ministry is what every Christian is called to do. The early church had no on/off button. From the day you got saved you are in the ministry. Someone who gets paid for doing ministry is called a hireling in scripture.
9. To punch the clock and give God His day. Every day is God’s day. Punching the clock so as to please the pastor, your wife, or God is religion. Scripture says: “In everything you do.” Did you know that God is happy when you take some rest and go fishing? God does not give you a pass to do whatever you want with the other 6 days of the week. Every day is His day!
10. To get under the anointing. This is more baloney coming from an alleged need of the “laity” to get some from the “clergy.” This thinking teaches that the upper class “clergy” have something you need from them so you must come weekly to get it. The problem arises when you keep getting it weekly for years, but your life does not change. The problem with that is, all of Gods people are already anointed, and carrying “the anointing,” and all God’s people are clergy or the Lords portion, and all of the Gods leaders are laity too. In the Kingdom of God there are no second class citizens.
11. To get in His presence. There is not one New Testament verse tying the presence of God to a building or to a weekly gathering. Furthermore, there is not one verse in the New Testament about believers going in search for His presence, or having to call His presence down. The Lord is not in a cloud anymore or even in a chair next to us. He is a forever with us and IN us.
12. To hear or experience Christ as we each share in the meeting. Scripture tells us that wherever two or three are gathered in His Name (nature) there He is. It doesn’t say it has to be an official meeting or that everyone in the meeting must share to hear Christ. If that is true, how many believers represent a quorum for God to be heard?
13. To go up to Zion together with rest of the Church worldwide. This is a Jewish practice taken from the Old Testament typology. Sorry, but since Jesus shed His blood I can get in His presence anytime and anyplace. I am not working my way in a service to go up to Zion. I am Zion, the New Jerusalem of God because He lives and dwells in me in, with, and among the body of Christ.
14. To train you to be missional. This is the newest one I have heard. Talk about getting the cart before the horse! Anything that is genuinely missional arises from Christ’s compassion for a hurting world. The more we love like Christ, the more we are missional like Christ. The fuel of everything missional is love not six elements of this or that, and “apostolic genius.” God help us! If we are still obsessing with programs and recipes we are not yet free!
If those are Wrong Reasons for Going to Church what is the Right Reason?
Finally, it would be improper to close this article without mentioning the only verifiable reason in the New Testament for new creation people to gather as the people of God. This one reason is by far the greatest missing element of the 21st century church. You would think it is some deep profound mystery for the mature, but it’s not. It’s the only reason that can grow His Church because it’s the only one scripture says the lost are waiting to see.
I will say it and most will say they already have it. The problem is, the standard of what this word means to new creation people has been dumbed down to simply saying “God bless you” to people you will have to wait another week again to maybe see.
The bar was set in the New Testament, but we have no clue to the meaning of all this or how to implement this in the 21st century.
Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. NKJV
Acts 4:32-33 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. NKJV
The above will never work in our world until we love each other the way they did. The early saints were driven to gather by the love and compassion they had for each other. Paul never praises the congregations in the New Testament for their soul winning efforts, the size of their congregations or the amount of money they handled in their budgets. Paul never speaks of a brand name, a denomination or a particular leaders following. His greatest praise is how the NAME of Christ is being made known by the love they are manifesting first for each other and then for the lost. You want a name to describe the gathering of the saints? Return to the foundation of a “love feast” instead of Catholic services and Protestant meetings.
I agree with John–how can we say we have been with God if we don’t have a heart for the brethren? You claim you spend hours in worship and prayer but you don’t have a heart to help your own family? What God do you pray to?
Still bragging about your Easter service? What if your measurement and values don’t register up in Heaven?
What are we trying to say?
Following Jesus Christ is something that is a daily lifestyle. Real Christian love is something that is lived out daily and dispenses salt and light to this world in darkness. It is not something that you turn on inside four walls for two hours a week.
Forsaking the assembly has nothing to do with your weekly attendance in a building. To congregate is to share where two or three are gathered in his name (nature) whenever that might be. The idea of worship services comes from the Catholic Church and does not exist in the Scriptures. The liturgy, bulletins and programs are all inventions of religion.
Being a witness (martyr) does not mean passing out tracts and doing events, but is a daily dying to self and human selfishness so that others may see Christ in us. Where is the voice of the Holy Spirit? The Lord Jesus did not leave us a clergy with Bibles; He left us his voice in One like Himself, the Holy Spirit. Where is the priesthood of every believer today?
The Lord Jesus left only one church, then why is there is so much division and so many groups? Our community needs to include all the brethren. The Church is not a club. The Church is a family. The Church is one body, the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is so much human based religion that whoever chooses this path must be willing to suffer rejection and the misunderstanding that will come from the majority.
May our Lord Jesus Christ give you courage and strength to follow in his steps and find His way!
May the Lord have mercy on His church and may He have patience with you as He has had with me.
I am not praying for revival of a dead human system but I am praying for His people to be holy and wholly unsatisfied until they find HIM and become HIM to a lost and dying world by their love..
Jose Bosque, with Stephen Crosby
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