Church Is Essential. Your Form of Church Is Not

Church is essential for the follower of Jesus—absolutely. When Christ called us into relationship with Himself, He also called us into community with others. A Christian not committed to Church is an oxymoron and a confounding contradiction. Christians are commanded to “not neglect gathering together as some are in the habit of doing but to encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25) because through encouragement we are not “hardened by sin’s deception” (Hebrews 3:13). In other words, God uses His people to keep His people tender and receptive to His leading.

Church is essential. Our preferred form of church is not.

 I am grateful for the time and place the Lord has placed me, a country where we can gather freely (a privilege I never want to take for granted) and a facility the Lord has generously provided. But when the writer of Hebrews wrote those words about believers gathering, it was not understood that all Christians would gather in mass at a church-owned facility. When the writer of Hebrews wrote about churches gathering there surely were not any megachurches with coffee shops awkwardly named He Brews. The early Christians gathered wherever they could, based on their context. They gathered in homes (Philemon 1:2), in lecture halls (Acts 19:9), outside (Acts 16:13), and in the temple (Acts 2:46). When the writer of Hebrews challenged believers to gather, the focus was on the purpose of the gathering, not on the size of the gathering or where the gathering would take place.

Look around the globe.

In the same way, believers around the globe gather in a myriad of locations based on their context. On global trips, I have been honored to participate in, I have taught believers in homes and believers outside. No one dared to hint that their gatherings did not somehow count as “real gatherings.”

Look to the past.

Martin Luther stated: “The congregation of saints in which the gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments rightly administered.” John Calvin similarly stated: “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.”

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Source: Church Leaders