While driving to work last Friday morning, I was listening to K-LOVE and one of the morning DJs, Amy, shared an interesting statistic. She said that one-third of the people polled said that going to church was very important to them. She did not share who conducted the poll nor who was among those polled. Either way the statistic is alarming.
If it was a mix of all Americans, then that statistic is very telling. It means that 2 out of 3 Americans do not consider church an important part of their lives. That alone explains many of the ailments in America. At Americaâ€™s founding, the large majority of Americans not only considered going to church important, but it was also the central cultural influence in their lives.
If those polled were true born-again Christians, then the numbers are most troubling. This is where the three morning DJs went off the theological rails. The conversation that ensued was a snapshot of what many self-described Christians believe about church attendance specifically, and the church as a body in general.
All three agreed that it was okay to miss church and that attendance was not mandatory. One of the male DJs insisted they werenâ€™t encouraging skipping church, just that we have a choice whether we go to church or not. He is partially right; we have the choice whether or not we are going to obey or disobey Godâ€™s word:
â€œAnd let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,Â not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, asÂ isÂ the manner of some, but exhortingÂ one another,Â and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.â€ (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Apparently, skipping church is not a modern-day phenomenon. The writer of Hebrews, whom I believe is the Apostle Paul, slides in six important words in the above passage: as is the manner of some. They are important because they speak clearly to what the K-LOVE DJs were trying to say.
They were making the case that it is okay to miss church for a number of reasons. Amy said that there are times when our schedules become busy and church almost seems like a burden. She said her and her family just take a Sunday off. It is one thing to miss church because of illness or being out of town. It is quite another to miss church because life has become too hectic. If that is the case, perhaps that family needs to look at lifeâ€™s priorities?
Where the conversation began spiraling towards blasphemy was some of the heretical statements the three began making. Iâ€™m only guessing, but I believe they began to sense that they were stepping into areas of theology they were untrained in, so they started to share their opinions about going to church.
One of the men said it was just their personal opinion, that it was between Jesus and you, and thatâ€™s why they call it a personal relationship with Jesus. A personal relationship with Jesus is not based on your personal opinion of it. It comes from making Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, and if He is Lord then He is ruler, not your buddy with whom you share your opinion.
Another man said that if you call your family together and read passages out of the Bible and discuss them, then that is church. They all agreed with the worldly â€œchurch is where you make it.â€ When a family gathers together to read and discuss Scripture passages (of which I highly recommend), that is not church; that is a family Bible study.
Going to church is part of our Christian duty, thatâ€™s right Christians have duties they are not to forsake. We go to church to bring our worship together corporately as the local body of Christ. Jesus went to church and in His Word, we learn the importance of obedience to the Bibleâ€™s teachings:
â€œBut everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:Â and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.â€ (Matthew 7:26-27)
How many homes in America are being blown away by the winds of evil change raging across the land?
Let me finish with this exhortation; it is one I share with my Sunday school class. I do not care about personal opinions of Scripture. It is always theological quicksand when you start applying your feelings to Scripture. We do not get to determine Scriptureâ€™s meaning; we are to discover it. Once we do that, then we are to determine how it applies to our lives.
Why is this a difference of such important distinction? Iâ€™ll leave you with Scripture to explain why:
â€œAll ScriptureÂ isÂ given by inspiration of God, andÂ isÂ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,Â that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.â€ (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
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Copyright Â© 2017 David Jeffers