Do Christians have to go to church?
If Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to save you (Romans 3:28), why go to church?
All cultures across history have challenged the gospel with the philosophy of the day. Ours focuses on ‘the self’ before the community. So the challenge comes as no surprise.
I’m not saved by what I do - so, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, right?
Right. But very wrong.
Fish and Tennis Rackets
Right, because church doesn’t make you a Christian. Some people go to church but haven’t trusted Christ to forgive their sins (Matthew 7:23).
But wrong, because to think it’s okay not to go to church is to misunderstand our identity. A Christian’s identity always relates to something bigger than ‘the self’.
Christians are adopted children - into God’s family (1 Thessalonians 4:10). We’re parts - of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27). We become branches - grafted onto the vine (John 15:4).
We become members, of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19).
Christians don’t have to go to church like fish don’t have to be in water, like office-workers don’t have to go to the office, like a tennis racket doesn’t have to have a ball.
It doesn’t make sense.
Identity and Calling
God isn’t calling a bunch of individuals into his kingdom. He’s calling a people (2 Peter 2:9). And each little gathering of his people on earth is an outpost of heaven.
So to be disconnected from a church is to be disconnected from God’s kingdom. We’re like laptops, spiritually alive, only while plugged into his kingdom-outpost.
This means our identity as Christians isn’t separate from what God calls to.
Being a body part means serving the rest of the body (1 Corinthians 12:21). Being a member of God's household member means, well, being part of his household, the church. (Ephesians 2:19, 22).