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As The Church Burns
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AS THE CHURCH BURNS
Was there ever a time when you looked around on a Sunday morning and wondered, “….Is this what Jesus envisioned when he left his disciples on Earth?.....”

Was His vision for the “church,” (the one that He died for and sent His apostles into the world to promote) really about pastors, church buildings, one-man shows, Sunday worship services, pulpits, mandatory meetings, bureaucracy, obligation and guilt,  authority and control, committees, money, programs, church constitutions, the eldership, creeds, catechisms, etc?
 
Obviously no, this was not His vision.  Nonetheless, today’s local institutionalized church has become a mammoth and accepted establishment.

As the church burns, many adherents to this system are still bound in great darkness; blinded to its corruption, abuse, and false teachings.  Sometimes through no fault of their own.  Many times however, it's through the very “leaders” of these institutions who are relentless in creating and sustaining an environment of shame and guilt in order to corral, and then confine its members indefinitely.

Recently, this has been epitomized in a “blog posting” that has come to my attention.  The posting, “5 Spiritual Dangers of Skipping Church,” is by Nathan Rose, a “senior pastor” of Liberty Baptist Church in Missouri.

In his post, he is considering the importance and necessity of corporate worship for the Christian.   He says that it is spiritually dangerous for those who profess Christ to regularly miss worship with their church family and then lists five reasons why skipping church is a really bad idea.

I will lists his five reasons and then comment on each one.

He makes these five points as to why skipping church is a really bad idea:

1)  You will miss out on God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-being.
2)  You disobey God.
3)  You make a statement to the world that God is not worthy of worship.
4)  You can’t minister to anyone.
5)  You skip out on a foretaste of heaven.

Look.  Let’s cut right to the chase.  These are some of the most ridiculous points that anyone can utter, but sadly, they are all too common amongst those who adhere to the false teachings of the local institutional church system.  The almost universal parlance of these recurring man-made “talking points” is staggering and it’s high time that someone expose this unbiblical hot air for what it truly is.

And this is what we will do forthwith in this article, pulling no punches.

Point #1

…Why skipping church is a really bad idea…

You will miss out on God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-being.

I don't know which false teachings are worse because they are all bad.  Outright lies and false teachings enslave; they blind; they rob; they bind; they destroy; and they ultimately erode all of one’s existence, and the deceptive teaching of the necessity of “going to church” certainly does all of those things.

You will miss out on God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-beingReally

Where do you read this in the Bible?  Obviously nowhere, since Nathan Rose gives no scripture to buttress his statement.  And since when did Jesus have “church services?”  He never said a word about “going to or skipping church” for that matter!  When Jesus said, “make disciples of all the nations…,” He didn’t mean take them to church!  He never taught His apostles this.  When Jesus said, “I will build My church…,” He didn’t mean a “church building” that we are dutifully to occupy.  Ekklesia means a called-out-people!  He will build a kingdom of PEOPLE for Himself.  It's a "church, without walls," if you will.

And what ever happened to the Holy Spirit?  “God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-being” is not to skip church??  It’s His Spirit working in and through you which leads to your growth and well-being.    “..The Spirit of truth shall guide you into all the truth..”   He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. John 16:13-14; John 17:17  Jesus says that without Me, you can do nothing.  He says abide in Me and you will bear much fruit.  This is how my Father is glorified, Jesus said, (John 15)  and THIS is what your spiritual growth and well-being depends upon; NOT SITTING IN A PEW AND TAKING SERMON NOTES ON SUNDAY!

Think of this:  If your spiritual growth and well-being depended on “not skipping church” so as not to put yourself in a dangerous spiritual position, then many of our Bible brethren would never had made it through.

-Abraham could never have made it to be our father of faith. 
-Paul, the great apostle, spent some serious time alone with the Holy Spirit separated from the big apostles in Jerusalem. 
-David spent considerable time living in caves and among the heathen separated from Israel. 
-Moses spent forty years separated from His people before He was prepared to lead them out of Egypt.
-Joseph languished in prison for years. 
-John the Baptist stood alone in the wilderness for God, because no one wanted to stand with him. 
-Daniel ended up in the lion's den alone, because he was the only one who cared enough about God to pray.

According to this pastor, all of these brethren would have probably been snatched up by the evil one because they skipped church as well as fellowship.

Point #2

…Why skipping church is a really bad idea…

"You disobey God."

He says, “corporate worship is not optional for the Christian, according to the Bible.”

It comes as no surprise that this pastor, along with all of Christendom pulls out the verse in Hebrews 10:25 and uses it as a hammer to bring condemnation to people who do not attend their staged weekly gathering.

“Forsake not the assembling,” is the most popular verse used to defend this false doctrine, and it is used as though it spoke plainly on the issue, which it does not, but only as interpreted and twisted by men building their own kingdoms and seeking social benefits and pleasures rather than God.

The Scripture quoted in Hebrews doesn't say anything about going to church; skipping church; worship services, etc.  It doesn’t say that it is sinful to skip church Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night.  The word “church” isn’t even in the passage!  It is nowhere to be found or even remotely alluded to!

When you read the verses preceding, it is crystal clear that the Spirit of God is not trying to get us to be more faithful to attend church services!  In fact, when this was written, Christians did not even have "church services" or even church buildings, for that matter.

It is MEN who teach this policy of “going to church” or “not skipping church” because they want you there for them.  Notice how important “numbers” and “membership” are to the flesh.  The leaders of these groups will take all that you have, even your very soul itself if they can, and enlist your services to build up their works. 
Be not deceived.

The Scriptures declare on more than one occasion that WE are a temple of the living God and so, what agreement has a temple of God with idols?”  Don’t make idols of your teachers; your buildings; your (false) doctrines; or your other gods.

You disobey God when you fail to, “Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, And you shall be to me sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:15-18; Revelation 18:4; etc.

It is not I who forsakes the assembling of ourselves together but those who belong to the local institutional church!

Point #3

…Why skipping church is a really bad idea…

He says,You make a statement to the world that God is not worthy of worship.”

I remember many years ago when I was a member of a local church, the pastor said something along these lines:

“Every Sunday morning when your neighbors see you leaving your house; carrying your Bible; getting into the car and going to church, you are being a witness to them.  You are a walking monument; a living example of what it means to be a Christian.  And the reverse is true as well.  When you stay home and not go to church, you are a witness to your neighbors as well.  You are being an example of not being a Christian!” 

Really? 

When Nathan Rose says that by skipping church, “you make a statement to the world that God is not worthy of worship,” just what exactly is he talking about?  This is what he says in explaining that statement:

“If you miss church in order to sleep in or to attend a sporting activity, what does this say about the worth you ascribe to God? Replacing your church’s regularly scheduled worship time with some other activity demonstrates that God is not actually worthy of our worship; something else is. Unfortunately, this is the attitude and conduct of unbelievers, not God’s people.”

WHAT? 

So in other words, if I don’t attend “Sunday morning worship services;” if I fail to heed man’s decree of “mandatory attendance at all of the stated meetings;” if I don’t subscribe to the “duty” and “obligation” jargon of “being in church,” then I am not one of God’s people; I have the conduct and attitude of unbelievers?
 
Why don't we just forget the scripture in John 4 (as well as others) with Jesus and the woman at the well. 

Jesus says, “The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him.  God is spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." Jesus said the time would come when both "this mountain" and "Jerusalem", as well as any other geographical locality or appointed structure, would be considered completely irrelevant as a condition to worship.

God is spirit - and mountain worship will not be acceptable.  Neither will temple worship in Jerusalem be acceptable to God.  If you are to worship God, then you must worship God AS HE IS, and not as Nathan Rose or the rest of Christendom thinks He is or where they think He may be.

Worship doesn’t happen just on Sunday morning and/or evening. True worship is a CONSTANT, CONTINUAL STATE OF BEING.  God is spirit!  He fills all space, is everywhere present, eternal and unchanging.  When we live and walk in the spirit, then we are always dwelling at home in Him.

This is one great truth that many in Christendom have refused to grasp.  That is, that the place of worship has no bearing whatsoever on the act of worship

Instead, what we have today is exactly what we see in this blog posting by the pastor.  It’s a man-made and man-sustained religious system that they have developed which says that there must be a place of worship, and professing Christians must gather themselves together at that appointed place and at the appointed time in order that they may worship.
 
It’s all unscriptural nonsense, perpetrated in order to hold the whole system together.  For, THEY KNOW that if the places of worship were taken away and believers truly worshiped in spirit and in truth, the whole system would fall apart, and guess what?  They’ll all be out of jobs!!!

Point #4

…Why skipping church is a really bad idea…

You can’t minister to anyone."

“Missing church robs you of an opportunity to serve someone other than yourself.”

Again I say,….Really?  Is a “church building” the only location where someone can “minister” to someone else?  This is getting to be absurd! 

All you need to do is look at the life and ministry of Jesus and see HOW He ministered to people; WHEN He ministered to people; and WHERE He ministered to people.

Real ministry doesn't take place on Sunday morning, sitting in a pew, looking at the back of everyone's head!  Real ministry takes place HOWEVER and WHENEVER and WHEREVER there are hurting, lost, and suffering people!

And by the way, where is it, in this so-called “church worship service,” may God give a fellow believer a word to “minister” with the whole congregation anyway?  I’ll tell you where it is.  IT’S NOWHERE

Typically, the “authorities” structure all of their “services” and meetings so that there is no opportunity whatsoever for any believer to say anything during the “services.

You, the pew sitter; the sermon note-taker, are limited to the knowledge, gifting and “ministry” of just one member of the body - the pastor! You are a passive spectator, that’s all.  The pre-planned and strictly ordered “ministry” that has been arranged by “the church leaders” allows for no variance, and deliberately so!
 
Why are local churches so careful about following the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 11, which is Paul's clear instructions on how to conduct the Lords Supper, yet……YET, are NOT careful at all to the clear instructions on how to conduct a “church ministry” that Paul clearly writes about in just two chapters over in 1 Corinthians 12-14? 

In fact, many churches will refuse to follow one iota of those chapters in regards to conducting their “worship services.” Why is that?  Think about it!

Point #5

…Why skipping church is a really bad idea…

Nathan Rose says, You skip out on a foretaste of heaven.”

I’m sorry, but this has got to be one of the dumbest points that is out there in regards to this issue.

We exist to worship God.  “This is why the church was redeemed and this is what God’s people will do when Jesus returns and restores our fallen world,” he says.  He then quotes Revelation 22:3: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”

And then he tells this silly story: 

“In 1988, three whales became trapped under a sheet of ice…. rescuers dug a series of breathing holes in the ice leading back to the ocean. Two of the three whales were rescued because they were able to get the oxygen they needed and were guided in the correct direction.
Similarly, Sunday morning worship is a like string of breathing holes the Lord provides for his people guiding and sustaining them until they make it to their true home in heaven.”

What can we say about this?  Sunday church services are a foretaste of heaven??

If Sunday church services are a foretaste of heaven, why is it that professing Christians must be bullied and cajoled  into showing up? 

If Sunday church services are a foretaste of heaven, why must an edict of “mandatory attendance” be implemented in order to have the pews filled?

If Sunday church services are a foretaste of heaven, you couldn’t build a big enough parking lot, for the masses would be flocking there 24/7!

This brings us to a concluding comment.

As the church burns, local church institutions, along with their “leaders,” continue to seek totalitarian control over every facet of your daily lives. The name of the game is control. It’s rule. It’s authority. It’s power.

By deliberately hammering fear of not “coming to church”; by deliberately inculcating “mandatory attendance”; by deliberately repeating the mantra of “duty” and “obligation” in coming to church meetings, the so-called “spiritual authorities” are blackmailing church members into becoming dependent upon them and their institution for their very salvation, and in so doing, becoming their slaves! It's all by design.

“Church authorities” have done everything to insure that the “True freedom” which Jesus has promised will never be realized in the heart of institutionalized church members.

Until a Christian is free from an organized/institutional church system and planned religion, he or she will never really know what it means to be a Christian.

Eyes need to be opened.  Hearts and minds need to be instructed.  The chains and the bondage to false teachings and the traditions of men needs to be broken.  With men, this will be impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

Those who will not cease propagating their false teachings should be exposed and not supported in any way so that their “ministries” die (see 3 John 1:9-10).

Few, if any, would survive long if people stopped following their self-serving decrees, showing up for their performances, and giving them their money. 

What about you?  If this brief article has rocked your boat, then your boat desperately needed to be rocked.

Regardless, will you have the courage to forward it to every professing Christian church member that you know?  And maybe even to some “pastors” that you know too?

Ken Cascio
wickedshepherds.com

Two related articles that you might also be interested in:

"IS CHURCH MEMBERSHIP BIBLICAL?"

Also: "A Meeting of the Church?"
"But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."  Matthew 15:9













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As The Church Burns