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.
(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.