This topic isn’t one of my normal offerings, but I want to have it here so I can reference back to it.
I’ve seen a lot of variations on the idea that church isn’t a necessary part of the Christian life; that there is no scriptural basis for being a member of a church. Let me show it to you.
I don’t know which Bibles you all may have, but it’s not terribly important. Turn with me now to the beginning…I mean before Genesis. There it is: The second Chapter of the Table of Contents, New Testament, verse 6
- Letter of Paul to the Church in Rome
- First Letter of Paul to the Church in Corinth
- Second Letter of Paul to the Church in Corinth
- Letter of Paul to the Churches (more than one!) in Galatia.
- Letter of Paul to the Church in Ephesus
- Letter of Paul to the Church in Philippi
- Letter of Paul to the Church in Colossae
- First Letter of Paul to the Church in Thessalonica
- Second Letter of Paul to the Church in Thessalonica
- First Letter of Paul to Timothy, a Pastor of the Church in Ephesus
- Second Letter of Paul to Timothy, a Pastor of the Church in Ephesus
- Letter of Paul to Titus, Pastor of the Church in Crete
- Letter of Paul to Philemon, a minister of a Church in Colossae
In total, of the 27 books of the New Testament, fully 13 are specifically addressed to churches, or to specific elders of specific churches. Within the other books of the New Testament–the Gospels excluded–there are many rules, guides, suggestions, encouragements, and so forth about how these church organizations should run; what there duties are; what responsibilities one has towards them; and so on.
In the last book of the New Testament–the Book of Revelations–there are seven letters to seven churches; each of which actually existed:
- The Church in Ephesus
- The Church in Smyrna
- The Church in Pyrgamum
- The Church in Thyatira
- The Church in Sardis
- The Church in Phliadelphia
- The Church in Laodicea
Again: These were real churches with real people and real elders and all the things that go with a defined body of believers.
If you don’t want to go to church, have the honesty to just say you don’t want to go to church. Do not pretend like you’ve actually read the Bible and found that churches are not real and necessary things ordained by Christ and inhabited by the Holy Spirit since the Pentecost; as recorded in the first book after the Gospels: The Book of the Acts of the Apostles. You didn’t even make it through the Table of Contents.