Do I Have to Go to Church to Be a Christian?
Many Christians in our time seem to think that church attendance is optional, particularly in an age like ours with so many online options. But is this a healthy outlook? Is it even biblical? On this program, the hosts discuss this question and offer numerous reasons why it is not only important but also crucial for Christians to be under the care and supervision of pastors, teachers, and elders at a properly-ordered church. Join us for this edition of the White Horse Inn.
“Do I have to go to church to be a Christian? We’re used to hearing the contrast between a personal relationship with Jesus versus going to church or joining a church. We are familiar with evangelistic presentations where that’s actually said. ‘I’m not inviting you to join a church, but to have personal relationship with Jesus.’
“The thing that we need to think about here is about the role of the church in God’s plan for creation, redemption, and eternity. The Father chose each of us to be part of the church. That is Christ’s bride and body. To be united to Christ is to be united to his church. First of all, the church is the heart of God’s plan from before time. Secondly, Christ gave his life for his church. Thirdly, the Spirit unites us to Christ, the head, and therefore to his body. You can’t be united to Christ without also being united to his visible church. Fourthly, Christ delivers himself to sinners now by the ministry of the church. We never leave that ministry until we die. And then finally, the church is the everlasting society of God, our forever family. The church never goes away.” – Michael Horton
Term to Learn:“Of the Catholic (Universal) Church”
We believe and profess one catholic or universal Church, which is a holy congregation of true Christian believers, all expecting their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by His blood, sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
This Church has been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof; which is evident from this that Christ is an eternal King, which without subjects He cannot be. And this holy Church is preserved or supported by God against the rage of the whole world; though it sometimes for a while appears very small, and in the eyes of men to be reduced to nothing; as during the perilous reign of Ahab the Lord reserved unto Him seven thousand men who had not bowed their knees to Baal.
Furthermore, this holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same Spirit. (The Belgic Confession, Article 27)