The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Can I be a good Christian without attending church?


#1

Regular Church Attendance: A Key to Christian Spirituality

By regular church attendance, I include Bible studies or prayer groups that you may regularly attend. If you don’t regularly attend church, your Christian spirituality is likely 2nd-rate. But, you say, the church is full of hypocrites and I show compassion to others at work, in my family, and in my relationships with unbelievers. True, one can always appeal to exceptions to the rule to evade biblical standards of righteousness. But how would you reply to the 5 texts cited below and the inferences I draw from it.

(1) “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).”
So if I’m not regularly attending church, so that I’m encouraging the other believers there and trying to motivate them “to love and good works,” then I’m likely disobeying God’s Word.

(2) “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:24-25).”
So the badge of a true disciple is a regular demonstration of agape love for fellow believers rather than for people in general. If I don’t regularly attend church, I’m less likely to have sufficient contact with other believers to satisfy Jesus’ discipleship principle.
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(3) "The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor the head to the feet, “I have no need of you (12:21).”
So by neglecting regular church attendance, I am more likely acting as if I don’t need the other members of Christ’s body and what they have to offer me spiritually.

(4) “But God has so arranged the body, giving greater honor to the inferior members,…so that members may have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:24-25)”
In other words, I need the spiritual gifts of other members whose relevance to me I trivialize, if I want to grow spiritually the way God wants me to grow.

(5) “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it (12:26).”
Notice what Paul doesn’t say here: he doesn’t say, "When one member of Christ’s body suffers, all the other members SHOULD suffer or empathize with him or her; instead he teaches that the other members actually DO SUFFER, when one member suffers! In other words, to the degree that I ignore a hurting member of Christ’s body, the whole church pays a spiritual price for this neglect. But if I’m not a regular church attender, I likely won’t even be aware of other suffering believers in the church. So regular church attendance is essential for preventing the Body of Christ as a whole, including nonattending believers, from “suffering.” in important ways.


#2

Well, here are some answers and / or topic discussions:

How can I practice as a Christian without going to church? - Quora

Can you be a christian and not go to church?


#3

This book has some insights. Of course not ALL men hate going to church. But for a fact, men make up a lesser and lesser percentage of church-goers for a number of reasons, among which is the emasculating of men’s drives and goals and the increased feminization of the services.
That being said, I am looking for a group to meet with, but after years of 3-4 times per week in various things, I’m not looking for an organization.

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/why-men-hate-going-to-church_david-murrow/253945/#isbn=0785260382&idiq=2085558


#4

Well, for me church is about the people. And it’s easy for me, to jump from conservative Anglicanism and Lutheranism - to Eastern Orthodoxy

“Anglo-Orthodoxy”: Why some Episcopalians are turning to Eastern Orthodoxy for spiritual enlightenment

Just as it was easy for me, to jump from being part of the Theosophical Society (mainly for their library resources:

To discovering wisdom in the Native American, Tibetan, Zen, Yoga, and Sufi traditions.


#5

“Can I be a good Christian without attending church?”

I wonder how that worked for Christians imprisoned for years without any visitors.

How does it apply in the internet age when one can “attend church” meetings on youtube, etc?

How often did the OT & NT prophets attend church. Or John the Baptist when he was living in the wilderness.

BTW, Martin Zender has a book, “How To Quit Church Without Quiting God: 7 Good Reasons To Escape The Box”:


#6

What is “attending church”? The Bible uses the word “assembly.” Assembly is not something we attend; it’s of which we are a part.


#7

I’ve attended numerous churches and aside from Communion, didn’t get much out of any of them. I’d love to find a church I really liked, like Greg Boyd’s.


#8

That was spoken before there was telephone, radio, TV, internet, etc, by which one may “encourage the other believers”. Even in the author of Hebrews’ time that could be accomplished by means of letters.


#9

We can draw all the inferences we like to suit our own needs; take for example…

Well this just assumes you have the gift of encouragement… someone else might not think so.


#10

This does raise the question - CAN (under grace) an online forum be used by God to further His work and love??
Is an online bible as good as the paper one?
Can watching a live online church service be the ‘same’ as being there in person?
My brother in law pastored a drive-in church - in the drive-in (remember those?) movie lot. It was well attended.


#11

And probably got “good offerings”, at the concession stand!


#12

Ha! They had some deacons working the cars - don’t know what they did in the rain, though.


#13

All the churches I’ve attended place heavy emphasis on singing hymns, which does nothing for me spiritually. I’d much rather listen to a pastor expound scripture.


#14

I am just the opposite. Good hymns of praise are, for me, a catalyst for experiencing God, whereas the sermons of most pastors that I have heard (not all) do nothing at all for me except to make me want to get out of there and go home.

However, I now meet with fellow Christians in an assembly where there is no pastor. The meeting is open to “body ministry,” that is, to the ministry of the body of Christ rather than limiting it to the ministry of one man. The meeting is open to anyone to share, pray, prophesy, suggest a hymn, or expound scripture.


#15

Lol! That’s very interesting how we prefer opposite services.


#16

Being part of the corporate world, I must say I agree with Paidion about wanting to get out of most Sermons. Feels like a company pep talk by someone who doesn’t know how the company/world works, or how they can’t really relate to the layman.

I have several pet peeves from pastors, especially when they try to guilt people into giving more time and money, like “they do”. I am just thinking, sorry buster, who do you think pays for your ability to preach down to us and spend an entire week pursueing spiritual things?

That said, there are a few pastors I really like and they rarely exhibit those annoying traits.


#17

If I could find an assembly of brothers and sisters seeking God together and blessing one another I would join them. I don’t think there are any within driving distance. We tried to form one, but it didn’t work out. For me it’s not about the sermon… like I haven’t heard it before. It’s not about singing hymns, etc. though I would enjoy that if they did it. It’s about the community, and that simply doesn’t appeal (apparently) to anyone else but me.


#18

I think that is because this need is innate to all people and their respective tribes, groups, beliefs, etc… So it goes unsaid. Basically it is a given, which is why it goes unsaid, causing you to think it doesn’t matter to them, when it does.


#19

I think you are expressing your feelings, Cindy. There are actually thousands who see community as the essence of Christian assemblies. Have you ever investigated the so-called “Plymouth Brethren”? (They don’t accept that name. They call themselves simply “brethren.”)


#20

Believe me or not, Gabe, but I’ve actually tried very hard for a very long time. People are too busy… at least they are around here.