Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

10 Jan 2015

Unchurched Christians, Minotaurs, and Other Mythical Beasts

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From time to time I’ve met professing Christians who for one reason or another claim that they do not need to be part of a local church. In most cases, they seem to believe that because God has placed them in the universal Church, they can worship God just fine apart from a local body of believers. I’d like to suggest that such a view is not only mistaken but is also harmful to the unchurched person and dishonoring to God.

Everywhere one looks in the NT, one sees believers actively participating in a local body. In fact, the NT knows nothing of a perpetually disconnected Christian. The apostle Paul says roughly as much about healthy unchurched Christians as he does about minotaurs, unicorns, and leprechauns. From the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2 and 3, everywhere the NT assumes that those who profess faith in Christ in this dispensation are part of a local body of believers. Much of the NT was originally written to specific local churches and addressed questions about how the local church should conduct itself. The professing believer who attempts to live apart from a local church will not be able to obey a significant portion of the NT (1 Tim 3:15). Although I’m thankful for access to good books and sermons produced by believers all over the world, it is first and foremost within the context of a local church that believers are to be instructed in the Word and exhorted by fellow believers (Eph 4:11–13; 1 Tim 4:11–16; 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 3:1–2). Those who profess Christ but remain disconnected from a local church need to realize that they have turned away from one of God’s clearly intended means of spiritual growth: the leadership and fellowship of a local assembly.

More importantly, those believers who choose to live apart from a local church dishonor the head of the Church. Both the Church universal and the church localized are God’s idea, not man’s (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:41–47). God’s Word never depicts local church involvement as optional for the believer. And God certainly didn’t intend for there to be two kinds of Christians, those who worship him within a local church and those who just do their own thing. Those who profess to follow Christ while remaining disconnected from a local church are really saying that they know better than God.

The local church is one of God’s gifts to his people. It is a means by which they can be taught, encouraged, and exhorted to follow Christ. And ultimately, local church involvement is an essential part of a genuine Christian profession. Apart from such involvement, the profession itself can only be incomplete and highly suspect.

2 Responses

  1. Raymond Beitz

    We must also remember that God’s church is all those who believe in Him and follow Him not some building or denomination. Many of the local churches as well as denominations have broken away from following God especially lately. They preach to entertain people with programs and songs and displays instead of the true message of the Gospel of Christ. They also get so wrapped up in theology and their own beliefs that they leave God out. Oh they tell a good one and put convenient bits and pieces in there to let their attendees think they are following God. God’s word never changed ours has that Old testament truth is just as truthful and relevant in the New as in the old. We want to think it has changed because we have But the real Truth is God’s truth has never changed it can not. The same truths he told those descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob He wants us to follow. That is Repentance and to come follow His son Jesus. That is because like in NIV John 14: 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. That Bible is our Instruction Book and there is no part optional just because we are living in the modern times instead of the old. God wants that relationship with us because We were created in His own image. and those instructions to us were just like a modern day instruction book to tell us how to make these creations we call bodies work for Him. Now if we can’t find any local churches that tell us God’s message maybe it is a problem with those controlling God’s churches that they need to get back to God and get back to him or get out of the “business of playing church”. Church is in each of God’s believers and those perverting it from the original meaning of Church — well it would be better for them to have a millstone tied to them and drown. Because yes God takes His word that seriously. and those that pervert it ( especially from within His Church) will be judged first and the harshest because they have chosen to go against God himself.

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