An article titled, “Reasons Why People Quit Church“, which promotes people being “Spiritual, but not religious” or “Christian, but not a churchgoer”. I pray the author and those of like mind will reconsider in light of what Jesus said. The author states, “People who feel connected to something greater, in a spiritual sense or God, but choose not to be affiliated with any particular brand of denominations or church on the market.” I agree, but not to the exclusion of assembling in the Church. Denominations are wrong. They shouldn’t exist (John 17:21, 1 Cor. 1:10-13, Gal. 5:19-21). Honestly, forsaking church is senseless. Hebrews 10 is clear that those who forsake the Assembly do not hold to their confession of faith and risk willfully sinning and giving up all sacrifice for their sins (10:23-29).
The author of this article also asserts, “Church isn’t for everyone, even those with a pure heart, decent morale, and good intentions.” Really? I find this statement to be insulting, absolutely wrong, and contrary to Jesus Christ. Let not our pride hinder anyone from reconsidering. How can someone think they can claim to be Christian and disregard Christ’s words? This is what is advocated here whether intentionally or not. Those who believe in such are certainly misguided to be the kindest about such willful ignorance. I plead with them of such thinking to listen to Jesus! Just read His words about gathering together, and then make your decision. If you can’t find a church, start one that follows Christ. The author of the article does appear to give suggested readings regarding “organic churches”, which are houses churches. House-churches can be good, but beware that the commonly promoted house-church format is distant from any revelation in the Scriptures. Yet, these “organic” house-church evangelists offer a strange church tradition that is much like a prayer/drum circle. According to Christ, assembling together as Christians is good anywhere as long as are assembly as God has blessed us to do (John 4:20-24).
Add to all this, the author, Laura, bears witness of a communication with God in which she needs not church in disregard to Christ. Laura declares, “I say, ‘that’s too bad’ and I’m here to expose the truth of why people have lost church, but sometimes not God.” She proposed,
“I hope my message inspires those who can’t find the right church for them or can’t go or don’t want to go, can still believe and communicate with God. It took me years of giving up on church and God before I realized I don’t have to go to church to have God in my life. Nobody is less of a person for not going to church.”
I find that idea contradicting for people to be faithful and somehow overlook Jesus’ words about assembling together. The author gives 10 reasons why people quit church as underlined in bold, and I have provided passages for which each point is addressed by Christ. Why not know what Jesus says before giving up on the Church that He built and bought with His blood (Matt. 16:18, Acts 20:28)?
1. Missed Out on Church 101. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
2. Repetitive and Dull Songs. Jesus said, “In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You” (Heb. 2:12, cf. 1 Cor. 14:15, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Jas. 5:13).
3. Day of Rest. What did Jesus do on the first day of the week? We read, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week,” and He went to His disciples (Mark 16:9, John 20:19).
4. Conflicting Evidence. See the next point, #5.
5. Thou Shall Not Judge. Why judge people for judging people? Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Paul sets a precedent for when to judge (1 Cor. 5:3).
6. Work. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Are not “all these things” our daily needs (Matt. 6:19ff, Luke 12:29-31)? We must have faith. Let our employers know where their most honest and hardworking employees need to be on the Lord’s Day.
7. Church Isn’t the Only Place to Worship. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20, cf. 1 Cor. 5:4, Rev. 1:10, 13, 17), and His Spirit said,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries…” (Heb. 10:23-27, cf. 10:27ff).
8. Creepiness Factor. Christ said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:15-17, cf. 2 Pet. 2:12ff, Jude 6-19).
9. Point of View. Jesus said, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15), and “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
10. Unanswered Prayers. Jesus stated, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8, cf. 2 Cor. 12:7-10).
No, we don’t need pews or steeples. Yet, we clearly must assemble in faith to Christ. From the very beginning, the first Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42ff). First Corinthians presented the Assembly in its fruitfulness and full communion. Christ’s Spirit instructed the whole congregation to assemble (1 Cor. 14:23), in the Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 5:4), to eat the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20, 33), for two or three men to speak one by one (1 Cor. 14:26ff), to pray and sing together (1 Cor. 14:9-25), and to collect money to help those in need (1 Cor. 16:1-2). The Assembly is so amazingly simple, so wonderfully pure, and absolutely necessary.
What is missing from church? Yet, even in doing all these things, there still seems like something is missing. Where is the closeness with God and each other? The Assembly is not just for direct praise to God, but for the building up of the congregation and encouraging one another to love and good works (1 Cor. 14, Heb. 10:24-25). This is what is missing for most people. They are not being built up in knowledge and understanding (1 Cor. 14), so they are not drawing close to communion with God, Christ, and His Spirit (Matt. 18:20). Do we not also commune with Christ when we commune with one another (1 Cor. 10:16-17, 12:12-14, 24-27; Matt. 25:37-40)? By commune, I mean as the Scriptures mean “share”. Christians “gather together” as scriptures say rather than just meeting under the same roof for acts of worship, personal reflection, praise, and prayers. God help us! Communion is where boredom exits.
In my personal experience, I find that communion is lacking in many churches not because of the church elders or the teachers, but by some in the congregation, who feel the same exact way and do nothing to help not even to pray. Sing with the conviction for which you want preached. That is irony when those missing communion with God and fellowship with Christians are also hindering it by not assembling, praying, or helping! So, they finally declare in leaving, “I don’t go to church because of the hypocrites.” The faithful, who do assemble, don’t go to church because of the hypocrites either! We go for Christ! May God help us all in diligence to follow Jesus Christ!
Ryan, I completely relate to your post. I also do not attend a church because the churches tend to take on a personality of their own and it is usually the extroverts who mold this personality. As you said we are all created differently and our experience of God is based upon how we are wired. Most introverts are also introspective and tend to look within for spiritual strength while extrovert tend to look for their power from the masses of gatherings. And the extrovert typically like to think that they are the standard for how things should be done. It’s just how they are wired. Not my place to judge it but it does not put me in touch with the spiritual places that need to be accessed within the heart for the purpose of communion with God.
Scott, your livelihood depends upon the gathering so I doubt you can relate to what Matt and I are experiencing. You can point to the scriptures that demand that we gather but I will point to Galatians 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” This principle can be applied to many areas of Christianity. The only thing that matters is that we become Spiritually transformed into the likeness of Christ. For some this will happen in the assembly, and for others it will happen apart from the assembly.
Phillipians 2:12 “…..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I find that no matter how hard you try, you can’t force fit everyone into one mold. Church as it exists today is not for everyone. Laura is correct. For one, it is very expensive. Buy a piece of property, put up a building, hire a pastor and other staff. It’s a big financial obligation on its members. Church tends to be a highly social, extroverted enviroment. Introverts as me tend to feel out of place and uncomfortable in that atmosphere. It’s socially exhausting. After working in an extroverted job all week, I just don’t want to have to deal with another group of people on the weekend. I’ve been out of church 3 years now. I still pray every day. I’ve read through my bible this year in 3 months. God does speak to me with my heart concerns out of the bible. I love my relationship with God. Besides my wife, God is my only other one best friend. True introverts only have one very best friend at a time while everyone else are only aquaintances. We don’t communicate well except for one-on-one and even that is rough. A large portion of Christians do assemble. That’s just what they do. But God did not create everyone identical. For all intent and purposes, God both enjoys community worship but also has a special place for those one-on-one individual relationships with those like myself. I pray and have prayed about this church thing constantly and three nights in a row from three different passages that grabbed my attention, God is fine with my not attending. A few weeks after that when I tried to leave and visit a local church, I was so mentally blocked, I had to turn around before I even made it to the closet door to grab my coat. I don’t have people issues like many do. It’s just not value added.
I actually feel the same way you do about being an introvert and churches not working, but without assembling, we are rejecting our confession of faith and endangering our souls (Heb. 10:23ff).
I would urge to meet in your home with other friends and thus you have formed a congregation, a church. You don’t need a paid pastor or staff. You haven’t read of all that stuff in reading through your Bible of hiring staff or needing a building other than a house. Church can be simple: 3 songs, 3 prayers, 3 scriptures with explanation and, or devotional thought, the Lord’s Supper, and a collection to aid other needy saints, etc (1 Cor. 4:17, 7:17, 11:17-34, 14:15-19ff, 16:1-3). That’s it.
I minister to a simple small church and I like simple small churches.
Nice post. And thank you for the article on the ancient origins of evolution.
Thank you for reposting. The origins of evolution are strangely hidden. I read a debate against evolution dated to the early 1800s too (Campbell, Owen Debate). Take care.