5 Reasons NOT to Go to Church

In a recent article called “Five Reasons Why You Need To Attend Church,” the author explains why Christians need to “attend” church.  He starts off by saying that “in some circles, it’s vogue to disassociate yourself from the local church,” and that “Some leave the impression that they’ve grown beyond the need for regular worship in a local congregation.”

I think we need to take great caution in criticizing the brethren or judging them by the way they gather.  I have been guilty of this.  With the growth of smaller, more organic gatherings an ecclesiastical divide is widening all over the world.

The author uses Hebrews 10:24-25 and says it “commands us:”

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

This verse and it’s classic argument, namely “you must go to church,” is not only unbiblical, but spiritual abuse.  We must absolutely not forsake the assembling of ourselves, but “going to a church” to do so is neither commanded here or implied.  One has said, “It’s a theological impossibility to ‘go to church.'”

Lets take a look at the 5 reasons from the article:

Red letters are the original author’s, and the black are my comments. 

1. It edifies you ~ Of course we are edified when we gather with other believers.  The body needs its other parts to grow and function.  The author states that we may not like the sermon or the music, but we will grow by “regular attending church so that we can be fed the word of God.”  Whether implied purposefully or not, I think we should be carful in accepting that we are “fed” in church.  How many times have you heard a person say “I’m not getting fed in that church.”  The goal for the believer is to feed upon God, to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8  Standing in a free cheese line waiting to be fed is certainly not a New Testament idea.  We can be edified by whatever form our gatherings take.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a church.

2.  It provides an opportunity to serve others ~ “When you attend church you learn of the needs of Christian brothers and sisters and are motivated to minister to them and pray for them. It’s not all about you.”  If you have to go to church to “learn of the needs” of your brothers and sisters, then chances are you are not of the church.  The needs of the brethren should be known by you simply from living amongst them.  If you’re only discovering the saints needs in a place once a week something is wrong.

3.  It testifies to the lost ~ “When your neighbors see you drive out the driveway every Sunday morning they know where you are going. When the golfer drives by the church building on Sunday morning and sees the cars in the parking lot, he is reminded of where he should be.”  Wow!  Seriously?  Since when is getting into a car a christian virtue?  How about not getting into the car and walking over to your neighbor and loving him like you love God?  How about being an example of what he should be instead of “where” he should be?

4.  It encourages others ~ “Just attending church spurs others on toward love and good deeds.”  It’s not the attending of church and seeing what people do in that place that inspires believers.  It’s being the church that inspires believers.  When we have to “go to church” to be inspired, then we can almost be guaranteed that our time outside of church is less than Christ wants for us.

5.  God commands it ~ “Enough said.”  Nope, God doesn’t command it.  He wants us unified.  He wants us to gather or assemble ourselves often.  He wants us to be mutually encouraging.  But, He never commands us to go to church.

I am not anti-church.  I am anti-churchiness.  I have not grown beyond the need for gathering with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  I must be careful in judging or being over critical with my church family if they are gathering in an institutional church or if they are gathering in someone’s home.  Assembling ourselves for some of the reasons above is admirable.  Demanding that it is in a specific place at a specific time for specific purposes is not admirable or honorable.   A few questions:

Where is scripture does it say we must go to church?

Is the popular phrase, “Be the Church,” theologically correct?

What direct correlation is there between attending church & Making Disciples?


0 thoughts on “5 Reasons NOT to Go to Church

  1. Marc Winter says:

    Isn’t it possible that the entirety of the whole “church” notion, is not only ineffective, but a demonic strategy to keep those who do come to genuine faith in Christ in their infancy. There they live out their lives confused, diluted, and misinformed. The whole church idea repulses every thinking person I know here in the US, so how can they look for Christ in a church setting. They know it is a false institution, and its claims are not valid.

    My personal experience, after many years of walking with the Lord under the authority of a variety of church leaderships, and my current post church life, is night and day. I was submitted an imposter headship, “church”, all other aspects of my life are the same. Always seeking to really know (ginosko) Jesus, was all the same. Immediately after hearing the Lord tell us to stop looking for a new church, our spiritual lives changed. We began to be directed by the Holy Spirit in clarity and certainty. We hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us all of the time now.

    It has been a year and a half, out from under the church bondage, and we know Jesus better today that in all of the many, many years prior, while going to churches, bible studies, and home meetings.

    This is not just our experience, but the identical experience, of hundreds of other believers we know. It is as if the whole world is being delivered from Institutional church, into a greater connected to Jesus.

    Jesus came to introduce us to the spiritual kingdom of God, not enslave us in “church”.

    • David Woods says:

      Count me as one of those hundreds Marc. It’s been about 4 years or more for us, and we too are happier and hearing more from the Lord than we ever did in “church”. I don’t think the whole church notion is a demonic strategy, but I do think that to a large degree it’s being used by the enemy in the very ways you mentioned. We’ll still go to a conference or special service from time to time, but just wherever that speaker is (within reason), not to one particular church. Most of the time when I do though, I end up wishing I’d just stayed home and worshiped myself. My wife doesn’t quite feel this way, but I do.

      • Marc Winter says:

        Hello David,
        I can not get around the fact that some sort of spiritual blockage happens to us when we willingly submit our lives to chruch leadership. When we stop, a spiritual breakthrough of sorts seams to happen in everyone’s lives. For those I have communicated with, freedom always coincides with leaving the (so called) spiritual covering of chruch leadership.

    • Marc Hostetler says:

      The problem that I see with the traditional church institution is that there are only a few people using their gifts (and some of them often don’t even seem to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit). All this happens while the rest of the congregation are mere spectators.
      If we are the body of Christ, we have a function, therefore should be using our gifts, praying for one another, etc…. we need to be active participants when we gather with other believers.
      Like others who posted here, I only began hearing the Holy Spirit after I left the traditional church about 18 months ago and started attending a house church. When I began being a participant (and after I surrendered everything to God….i.e. my idols), I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and God’s anointing on me. I have seen God’s power moving in the organic church much more than in the traditional church.
      Another problem I see with the traditional church is the gargantuan cost of the building itself, and the associated costs that go with it (upkeep, renovations, paid staff, programs that often only serve the believers…. instead of programs that are focused on the Great Commission).
      If only Christians or people who call themselves Christians could take God’s Word at face value and obeyed the two greatest commandments to love God and love others, we would begin to see a transformed world!

  2. GaryFPatton says:

    You’re a Greek-speaker, Miguel, plus you and some of your readers are Biblical scholars. Nonetheless, I jump in and raise the related issue of the “misuse” of the word ‘church’ itself.

    I am doing so because I feel the word itself and all it implies in the minds of too many, compounds each the issues which you raised above in dissecting the original article’s 5 off-the-mark points.

    You or others will correct me where I drift from accuracy, I’m sure. The Greek word “ekklesia,” is used 115 times in the New Covenant. In most bibles, the word is traditionally mis-translated as “church” (The exceptions are in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41, where it is correctly translated as “assembly”, I understand).

    The first, complete Bible translated into English was the Tyndale Bible, in about 1524. That Bible did not use the word “church” anywhere in its pages. It used the word “assembly”. Despite this accurate translation of ekklesia, the Roman Catholic Church in England, I gather, had already replaced the word “assembly” (or its equally correct English synonyms “gathering” or “congregation” with the English word “church”. (The Old English root of the word church describes a building where pagans worshipped.)

    King James’s edict prevented the so-called “translators” of his KJV from using any earlier translation of the Greek for ekklesia other than ‘church’ for political, not accurate translation, reasons.

    The English, non-Biblical word church is encumbered with all the anti-Jesus Following and anti-assembling baggage of paid-professionals, sermonizing and a host of related traditional, non-Biblical rituals against which many, as you rightly note, and especially younger people, are reacting negatively by voting with their feet against “the church”.

    Traditional, institutional Christianity in North America is increasingly becoming irrelevant. It cannot become more relevant by continuing to fight “cultural wars” in the political and public squares while supporting the traditional Western approach to real ekklesia plus the word church itself.

    I feel the local gatherings of the global ekklesia can only become more relevant the moment many Christians unclench their fists for long enough to honestly reach out in Biblical love to family members, friends, neighbours, and work associates ….with nothing expected in return.

  3. Devon Leesley says:

    Another spirit, gospel and Christ. Much of ‘church’ has precious little to do with the gospel. A simple comparison between 1Cor. 12 and14 and Romans 12 and Ephesians4 against the modern church and you’ll find there are no similarities between the two.

    When that is the case, and it is, Jesus commands us to ‘come out from among them and be you separate’.

    ‘If anyone brings another gospel…run as fast as you can’. Mine.

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