Several years ago, a celebrity Christian author wrote an article on why he doesn’t attend church anymore.
It created a firestorm all throughout the Christian blogosphere.
Haven’t we gotten past this yet?
Let me explain.
Two ludicrous things were at work.
1. Pastors were pushing-back on the celebrity author, reprimanding him with words like, “you can’t follow Jesus and reject the church.”
While those exact words are true–and I’ve said essentially the same thing many times in my work–these pastors were grossly confusing two very different creatures. An institutional church service on Sunday morning IS NOT the ekklesia of God!
So don’t use the word “church” to refer to the former. At worst, it’s disingenuous. At best, it’s confusing and misleading.
These pastors were equating a religious service with God’s beloved bride. A service, mind you, that has no root in the New Testament. (If you doubt that, find out where the Protestant worship service came from in Pagan Christianity.)
2. These same pastors were making the case that “the church” is full of very imperfect people, and they alleged that the celebrity author needs to face this fact and “get back to the church.”
This is yet another misguided, hand-waving response. The celebrity author didn’t stop attending church services because of the imperfect people who also attended.
He stopped attending because he found the Sunday morning “show” to be boring and of little value! Something that millions of Christians have concluded as well.
The fact is, the Protestant order of worship is over 500 years old and it’s not changed much at all except for some insignificant tweaks.
This is yet another evidence that Christians, in general, lack creativity and imagination. And they are pathetically wedded to unbiblical traditions and will fight tooth-and-nail to preserve them, even if those traditions lack a fig leaf of biblical support to cover them.
What’s more surprising is that this celebrity author isn’t alone. So I was surprised by all the fuss when he made his announcement.
I know many very well-known teachers and preachers. Some of them are good friends of mine.
And most of these famous Christian leaders don’t belong to any traditional church. None at all. And neither do their families.
Some of them have confessed to me behind closed doors: “I don’t attend [institutional] church because I find it boring. It’s the same thing all the time. And I have many friends in ministry who feel the same way. I agree with what you’ve written about the modern church, but don’t tell anyone I said all this.”
I kid you not.
If I named these people, most of you would know who they were. Believe it or not, some of them are regularly invited to speak at pastors conferences!
This comports with the following unmovable statistics:
- Over 1 million Christians leave the institutional church per year in the United States.
- Over 112 million Christians worldwide do not attend an institutional church, but fellowship in other modes of church life.
- 1,800+ pastors leave the clergy system per month in the United States.
So the next time a celebrity personality in the Christian world announces he/she doesn’t attend “church,” you are now armed with what’s really going on when that person gets ripped to shreds by bogus arguments and misguided judgments.