THE NEW HERESY
BY QUIGG LAWRENCE, SUFFRAGAN BISHOP
American Christianity has increasingly embraced an old heresy - BLOWING OFF CORPORATE WORSHIP. This is actually a heresy not simply a foolish practice, because it is based on a faulty reading and twisting of scripture. This “come to church once or twice a month” or to even “stop going altogether” is not from the Holy Spirit. It is an old lie fertilized by the Devil, the flesh and books by pseudo-evangelicals.
Popular books such as Wayne Jacobsen’s “Finding Church” and “So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore” give the flesh all the excuse needed. The highly paid speakers, authors and bloggers that many Baby Busters, Millennials and Generation Z’s devour, make it hip not to go to church, or even belong to one. A lot of books have been written suggesting a more pure and spiritual Christianity outside the local church. The message is “You do not have to go to Church, you ARE the Church.”
A half-truth. While people are the Church, you will not find scriptural backing for the rejection of corporate worship.
The number of “evangelical” elite who eschew church is increasing. I have heard this out of the mouth or from the pen of The Fellowship’s Doug Coe, former pastor Rob Bell, author Don Miller and many “Christian artists” who, if they go to church to worship (not as paid speakers or performers), go at most a few times a year.
Why should we go to church?
Certainly not to court God’s favor or because we have a perceived need on a given Sunday.
We should go to Church for at least five reasons:
1. The Bible commands and commends it
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord God; in it you shall not do any work. - Exodus 20
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.- Hebrews 10:24-25
2. Jesus went regularly to corporate worship. If anyone had an excuse not to go because of the hypocrites and bad sermons or music, He did.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read - Luke 4:16
3. St. Paul went regularly to Church
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures - Acts 17:2
4. God is worthy to receive honor and blessing and praise
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth. – Revelation 5:9-10
5. God deserves each us to bring to Him a regular, corporate sacrifice of praise - Hebrews 13:15, etc.
There are also many practical reasons to go to church weekly. Without regular fellowship with the Church family I am weaker. Without the Word of God being read and taught to me, I am weaker. Without the sacraments, I am weaker. Without the rest of the Body of Christ’s gifts, I am spiritually vulnerable and incomplete.
So resist the old lie. If Jesus, St. Paul and the Church Fathers went to corporate worship regularly, you should as well. To choose to devalue corporate worship is not only foolish, lazy and prideful but it will guarantee you will be deceived and begin a slide to spiritual death. That is not the “organic” faith or Christian life God has for His children.