Thanks, Don. I’m thinking there are none here, but I’ll look online.
As expected. all posters have resorted to the desperate expedient of rationalizing away their disobedience to the plain teaching about church attendance biblically documented in the OP. As mentioned, by “church attendance” I include small prayer groups, the effectiveness of which often prove how comparatively inept the spirituality of most churchless believers can be.
Our weekly Monday prayer group routinely sees miraculous answers to our prayers: e.g. instant healing of a life-threatening blood clot extending from the groin area to the ankle, publicly witness healing of the virtually blind (from macular degeneration) , most recently the healing of 2 people with malignant brain tumors requiring surgeryk a healing of man with gangrene, massive strokes and a heart attack, so dramatic that the doctors asked to study the case further because it was unprec3edented, etc. And these are only a few of the many answers to prayer received by a faithful small prayer group that simply meets weekly for fellowship and extended prayer sessions for people in need.
I find most relevant to this issue a quote from G. K. Chesterton that goes something like this:
“Many claim that Christianity has been tried and found wanting; the truth is that it has been found difficult and seldom tried.”
That is simply your opinion. Everyone here has given ample reasons for not attending a ‘church’ and some also explaining that it simply means ‘assembly.’ There is no disobedience involved and I would like those casual surfers who come across this topic to know there are different views to this than berserk’s.
Yes you can be a good Christian or for that fact a good person without attending CHURCH!
Note: this verse doesn’t speak of a requirement to “meet together” in body, physically. It doesn’t say non physical ways to “meet together” are excluded, such as via telephone, internet, etc. BTW, Paul himself was able to “meet together” with the saints in Corinth (1 Cor.5:3-5) without being there in body.
To obey this verse does not require anyone to “meet together” in a room bodily.
To avail oneself of help from other Christians does not require any to “meet together” in a room bodily. Again, there’s telephone, internet, letters, text messages, online chat, etc.
Ditto the previous remarks above.
Do you actually believe that believers who don’t attend church have the same regular opportunities to minister to the Body of Christ through means like the telephone? Pulleeease!
And I’m sure, in your private piety, you see the blind see, nalignant tumors and blood clots vanish the way we routinely do in our prayer group! Let’s get real here! Besides, your efforts to find exceptions not only ignores the general rule; it ducks the plain meaning of the texts I cite.
If you’re telling the absolute truth there, you have the the only group like it that I’ve ever heard of.
I am more than halfway not believing that those things happen ‘routinely’ anywhere, period. But if you say you see it routinely, good for you.
Meeting with a group such as yours may be healthy, especially for newer believers. (I’m thankful for the many years of regular “church attendance” i had in my formative years as a new Christian.) OTOH, just choosing a “church” to attend at random could lead one to something that is rather detrimental to one’s spiritual health.
The vast majority of churches either don’t believe in such things, think they’re of the devil or don’t practice them. So finding such in the town one lives in may be problematic, if not impossible. Still such things happen all over the world & are wonderful. Yet one should beware since even Satan can do miracles:
Mt.24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.
Considering that meetings via telephone conference calls, the internet, etc, didn’t exist in that time, I don’t see why that is necessarily true.
My goal is not to have people take my word for it, but to have them join or start their own prayer group to see hew powerful group prayer can be for themselves. My prior prayer group in Buffalo, NY also saw marvelous answers to prayer, but not as consistently or dramatically as my current group.
In my view, pastoral prayers at church are less effective because
(1) people do not primarily attend church to pray, but to sing hymns, hear sermons, fellowship, etc.
(2) Prayer chains are less effective because the privacy of the praying unwittingly encourages a routinized or mechanical laundry list approach to prayer.
By contrast, when people take the trouble to drive or walk to a church specifically for the purpose of prolonged intercessory prayer, that act is already a strong expression of faith. And in prayer groups, the sharing is more detailed and visceral, not abstract and vague–a real key to effective prayer.
In life, theological understanding is the booby prize because it offers just enough spirituality to inoculate against the real thing–autnethic life-changing spiritual experience., of which the most important type is a profound connection with God through prayer. As Paul teaches:
“I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people, but their power; for the kingdom of God depends not on talk, but on power (1 Cor 4:19-20).”
In my prior prayer group in Buffalo, NY, I felt compelled to end each session with prayer for the physical safety of its members. What I didn’t share with them was my prescience that failure to pray in this way would spell the death of an undetermined number of its members. When I left that church, one of the first acts of the new pastor was to abolish that prayer group. Shortly thereafter, one of the group’s regular attenders was killed in a fiery car crash! I am still haunted by the meaning of my unprecedented urge to have the group regularly pray for the physical protection of each member at the end of each session.
These issues really call for a new thread on the art of effective biblical prayer, but I will refrain from starting such a thread because denizens of this site are too closed-minded about mystical spirituality.
Perhaps we’ve just been exposed, over a lifetime, to fakery, ( I am most definitely NOT aiming this at you) so we throw the baby out with the bath-water.
I know that I have experienced great embarrassment personally by being fooled when I should have known better. Don’t know that I’m closed minded so much as not willing to put much weight on mystical things; my thinking being that I have my hands and mind more than full just with the weight of glory that comes from a scriptural understanding of God.
That being said, if you start that thread I’ll certainly read it.
Do you take prayer requests for us that have health problems that make fellowship a struggle? My hearts is deeply warmed by your description of your prayer groups.
Wherever it is you and your “faithful small prayer group”currently meets may I suggest you all be necessarily proactive and find a spot at your local hospital and start clearing the wards of the sick, infirm and dying — only seems the most logical and unselfish thing to do.
My tone may seem dogmatic, even arrogant, because I’m honestly speaking from the heart and form life experience. For years, I struggled with what I perceived as the yawning chasm between what the NT promises about miracles and answers to prayer and what I actually witnessed, confirmed, and experienced. The result was that agnosticism seemed the only viable option. I heard about Kathryn Kuhlman’s many miracles, but when I actually attended her packed out rallies in LA, I saw nothing but paranormal insghts, no convincing healings. That is why Paul’s body of Christ principle, “God gives greater honor to the inferior members,” hit me with such sledge hammer force.
davo: Wherever it is you and your “ faithful small prayer group ”currently meets may I suggest you all be necessarily proactive and find a spot at your local hospital and start clearing the wards of the sick, infirm and dying — only seems the most logical and unselfish thing to do.
A snide comment that I’m sure illustrates the poverty of the level of spiritual power manifest in your life! The Holy Spirit doesn’t jump just because we crack our whip. And one key to the effectiveness of our group prayer is that someone in our group knows that people in need of prayer well and shares a detailed and highly viscerall account of what they are going through. We are less effective when we don’t know the people in need personally or the details of their ordeal.
Even more than evidential NDEs and ADCs and healing miracles, the mind-blowing revivals of history strike me as convincing evidence of powerful interventions from a God who loves to act in lives, if we only will meet His conditions. In these revivals, unchurches masses suddenly and inexplicably become obsessed withi establishing an intimate connection with God.
In the Welsh revival (1904-06), 100,000 unchurched souls converted in just 4 months and were willing to stay in church, worshiping and feasting on God’s presense until 4 AM. Just imagine how real and sweet God’s presence must have been to motivate such staying power in unstructured revival meetings.
In the Hebrides Revival (1949-1952), hundreds on nonreligious young people suddenly and for no apparent reason fled a dance hall to find an open church late at night so they could get right with God. After the long evening services, all-might prayer vigils were maintained in whjch the power of the Spirit was so nourishing that they went to work the next day with no need for sleep!
In the Azusa Street Revival (1908), small children sat for hours in a hot unventilated old building without ever fidgeting or getting restless, because of the mesmerizing presence of the Spirit. Blind people were instantly healed and the upper level was full of discarded crutches from cripples who had been healed. The ultimate result is arguably 600 million converts who are Pentecostal in one form or another.
In all 3 revivals, there was a central humble figure who applied particular prayer principles to which modern Christians are indifferent to studying and grieve God by this apathy.
Well, I been years around a Roman Catholic priest…who has the gift of healing and hearing the voice of God…I been around Native American Medicine people, healers, Eastern saints, Native American ceremonies, etc. While I have seen many miracles, I haven’t noticed them “routinely” - in any group. I would certainly, like to become a member - of the group that has the “routine” miracles.
The only miracle that has happened to me personally was 20 years ago, when I was driving alone on Hwy 50 in Nevada, and noticed a female hitchhiker. She looked safe enough, and the weather was getting bad, so I did the good Samaritan thing.
We talked for awhile, she was funny and articulate, and then she came in a bit too close and said “I also happen to be a witch.”
I said “Pshaw” or something similarly Dickensian.
She said 'No, really I am. For instance, I can turn you into anything I want"
She leaned over and whispered something in my ear and sure enough, I turned into a motel.
Go ahead, groan.
Speaking from your heart does not preclude you from being arrogant, nor dogmatic.
I mske no apologies because I know my motivation and recognize the appalling lack of spiritual balance implied by professing Christians on this site. But let me ask you this: Why are you even here? If you are not an honest truth seeker, why bother exposing us to your closed mind? But if you are an honest truth seeker, what would it take to shift you prespective from agnostic to spiritual player? Put more philosophically, if your perspective were crucially flawed, would you even want to know that? And if you would, how might you ever discover your serious error, if indeed you are fundamentally wrong? Or from the perspective of the philosophy of science, how is your position falsifiable even in principle? And if is not, I hope you do realize that it is epistemologically meaningless.
You truly are “berserk” — you might further ask your prayer clan to pray you have the gift of humility!
This week i’ve been looking into this Melbourne, Australia lady’s healing ministry that has been compared to that of Kathryn Kuhlman:
“And pretty much every town I go into one of the first miracles he does is someone with a completely deaf ear gets their ear open.”
“Katherine Ruonala has been ministering prophetically for the last 16 years and her ministry has been compared to that of Kathryn Kuhlman. She studied Smith Wigglesworth, John Lake, and watched Kathryn Kuhlman videos as they all moved in the baptism of Holy Spirit with fire. Katherine pressed in to God for His Holy Spirit and as she did, there were times when she was on the floor, unable to get up, and experiencing visions of what God had planned for her. She says that the key to miracles is understanding God’s love for us. Our faith grows when we understand the Father’s love and realize that He wants the best for us. “Faith works by love, and miracles will spring forth immeasurably from a life unlocked by this love,” shares Katherine.”
Though many consider her church “cultic”:
“This video will bring clear biblical understanding of the demonic manifestations of Glory City Church to effectually prove how another “spirit” is at work and being poured out upon many amidst the Charismatic Movement.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqe8REOFNWQ
In light of the OP, would the OP consider that to be a “church” worth “attending” to be a “good Christian”, or better Christian, than those who don’t attend a “church” regularly? Or would meeting with such a “church” be a bad influence upon a person who would have been better off if they had attended no “church”?
The people in my weekly prayer group are people of simple faith who a re active in their churches, but who quietly visit the lonely and needy elderly shut-ins and deliver Meals on Wheels to people who can’t get out and shop for themselves. In my view, their church service and humble unnoticed service to the needy are keys to the power of our prayer group.
Well, I have seen the same thing…in ALL the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches…I have been either a part of…or have visited.