Monday, June 05, 2017

A NEW COVENANT PARADIGM FOR CHURCH ATTENDANCE!

There is no doubt that followers of Christ SHOULD and NEED to attend a gathering of believers. I’m thinking it will be the personal desire of any true Christian to worship corporately as an expression of their love for the brethren, which in and of itself, indicates the genuineness of conversion as stated in 1 John 3:14.

For a time of fellowship with, and the encouragement of, other believers, gathered times are unsurpassed. It is a time for hearing the Word of God and exercising ministry gifts for the edification of others that all believers possess. We really do need each other and time together must NEVER be taken lightly.

That said, to make a RULE about it or to USE it to MEASURE spirituality is to take the issue FAR beyond the emphasis the New Testament materials give it as a New Covenant activity.


The following 10 points about the New Covenant gathered Church, and attendance at such gatherings, are what I’ve believed and taught as Pastor to the congregations I’ve ministered to over the years and even shared in Pastor’s conferences. Ask anyone who was a part of those congregations or conferences and they will verify that.

And, it is what I believe will be found in the researched and studied text of scripture by all who examine that text with a willingness to lay aside traditions and let the scriptures speak for themselves.

#1__The “Church” is and always was in scripture a reference to  people and not an organization or institution.
[Ephesians 1:22-23]

[Any structure or organization is simply a tool that helps people and a 501c3 is exactly that, a tool. The 501c3 is NOT the church.]

#2__Using language like ”Going to Church” easily confuses the Body of Christ [Church] with an organization or institution and is totally non-biblical.


Language using words about “being the Church wherever we go” is far more biblical and theologically correct. (Romans 12:4-5]

#3__The “Gathered” Church is that group of people uniquely joined together in a single location. [Hebrews 10:25]

Whatever organizational form (shape] that gathered group takes is up to the people. But the form [shape] is SECONDARY to the Function or Purpose for those people having gathered.

In the scriptures the PURPOSE of the gathering was more for all the “one anothers’” rather than primarily about the worship of God. “God Worship” for the early church was a moment by moment reality of obedience as they lived their daily lives. The regular gatherings were for encouragement and the edifying of one another. [Ephesians 4:11-16]

#4__The “Scattered” Church is simply redeemed people whose lives are lived out daily as they worship [obey] God and gossip the Gospel as they go.

[We are NO LESS the “Church” on Monday than we are on any given Sunday.]

#5__The Day of meeting and the place of meeting for the “gathered church”  are non-designated in scripture and can be any day or place they choose.

[Historically it has been the 1st day of the week to celebrate a living Lord as illustrated by the biblical materials. Early on in the NT the gathering was basically in their homes.]

#6__The regularity with which a gathered group [church] meets is simply NOT declared in scripture.

The gathering place is ONLY mentioned the one time in Hebrews 10:25 where it is commanded that we NOT abandon our gathering together, but no number of times is given to define abandonment.

#7__Gathered “worship” in scripture IS NOT relegated to one hour on Sunday or formatted in any fashion in the New Testament.

[The “corporate worship hour” on Sunday is NO MORE worship than is the small groups or times with people in any setting on whatever day of the gathering.]

#8__Spirituality for believers was NEVER defined in scripture by how many times they gathered with others.

Our spirituality is because of who we have become by the Grace of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us making real His life through our unique personality.

#9__”Being the gathered church” is a delight, an encouragement, a privilege, and a thing to cherish for all believers.

But GUILT or SHAME for NOT attending at a certain time or place are never to be used as the tool for getting someone to come to a gathering since there is no scriptural standard for how often gathering is required.

Abandonment of gathering has already been addressed.

#10__Christianity is simply NOT defined scripturally by our performing in any fashion, even with what is commonly called “church attendance.”  

But it is, rather, Who and What Jesus has accomplished on our behalf and our sharing His life every moment of every day and even on SOME days doing that sharing of His life with other believers, GATHERED TOGETHER.  

1 comment:

Aussie John said...

Paul,

How hard it is for one who has from childhood been under legal bondage of institutionalism to come to the point of accepting the truth of all you have written. It began a long time ago for me whilst preparing a study on worship. The outcome was as you wrote, “God Worship” for the early church was a moment by moment reality of obedience as they lived their daily lives".