Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Friday, September 01, 2006

Leave your left knee outside!

Imagine if I handed you an invitation to a party at my house. I told you to bring your wife, your kids, your neighbors and your friends, and then at the bottom of the invitation, there is hand-written on the note-please leave your left knee outside, it repulses me. I imagine that you would feel insulted first and then second you would think I was crazy.

Now imagine how Jesus feels when you do the same thing to Him. In our day and age we have a lot of self-styled spirituality. People say things like "I'm a spiritual person. I just don't believe in organized religion." What they are really saying is "I want to be spiritual on my own terms so I don't have to deal with other people." Many people believe that they can be a sincere Christian without having to go to church and fellowship with other Christians. I hate to be the whistle blower here, but that is sheer nonsense. The Bible says the Christian church is the "Body of Christ." It also says that the way you know if you "have passed from death to life" is if you "love the brethren" (I John 3:14). You can not love Christ without loving Christians. That would be like saying-"Jesus, please come into my heart, but leave your left knee outside."


toby said...

I agree that if you're a Christian, you should love other Christians. However, I disagree with your equating of loving people and going to church. Can a person love someone and not go to church with them? Can a person go to church and not love the people there?

I wonder in what fashion the early church met. Every Sunday at 8am they went to a building, sang some songs, put money in a bucket, and listened to a guy speak for 40 minutes? And I wonder if you were looked down upon if you weren't there one week.

I'm not saying I'm going to quit going to church, but I'm rather sick of people implying it's some sort of requirement or that if you don't go you're an outcast. Look, being around and/or staying in touch with other Christians is a great idea. But church isn't the only way. People can spend time together on an activity of common interest, do a Bible study, get coffee or something to eat, or just hang out.

Furthermore, the Bible does say that the Christian church is the "Body of Christ". It is also written that Christ gave Himself up for the church. Do you think that when the authors used the word church, they were referring to a weekly service that may have not even existed yet, or to all Christians everywhere throughout human history? I believe they're referring to the latter. It is a pet peeve of mine (hence the response) when people call weekly church services the body of Christ. But maybe I'm mistaken; maybe the reason Christ gave Himself up was so that we could get up early every Sunday when we could be sleeping in.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

I have to say I am a little surprised by your cynical response. I think you read way too much into my post than what I actually said. Of course I know that church can be done in more casual settings. I have spent time with some of the finest Christians around the world in house churche settings (remember my occupation). That is why I am a strong proponent of the house church movement although I do not attend a house church myself.

I am also aware that our modern day non-denominational charismatic church service looks different than the gatherings of the early church. But this doesn't surprise me. After all, we do not live in first century Rome. The functions are still the same even if the form has changed.

I think we need to be clear regarding what makes a gathering "church" and not just "hanging out." First of all, whether it is New Testament house churches or modern American gatherings, there is a regularity to it. As the Apostle Paul says to the Corinthian church "when you come together."

Secondly, there is an intentionality to it. A true church fellowship, whether it is in a building desingated for worship, a house, or Aunt Suzie's barnyard, should do the following:

Love one another
Pray together
Celebrate the Lord's supper
Study the Word
Make disciples
Baptize new believers

If you can find a more casual setting to practice these Scriptual mandates-I'm all for it! There are many others who feel the same way and if that will help you grow spiritually, who am I to oppose genuine spiritual growth? But let's not settle for just getting together with other Christians when we feel like it. God has given pastors and teachers in the Church for the edification of the Body of Christ. There are numerous scriptures in the New Testament that tell us to submit to genuine spiritual leadership. Also, I think it is rather trivializing to house church Christians around the world who are practicing the New Testament mandates and suffering persecution as a result, to use them as an example for disgruntled American Christians who would rather sleep in on Sundays and complain about the length of the pastor's sermon.

toby said...

please forgive my careless, harsh words. i chose a bad time at which to write a response, forgot who i was talking to, assumed way too much, and put together a narrow and misdirected argument. i really did read too much into what you were saying.

i also agree that church is not just hanging out; you make a good case for what Christians should be doing when gathered together in the name of Christ.

Aaron, i read your blog a lot, i like checking it. please forgive my cynical outburst; i need to get off my high-horse.

also, if it helps any, i thought through what happened and i'm hoping to learn something and not make the same mistake again (writing a response driven by anger). i hope you're doing well. maybe i will see you soon.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you for writing back. By all means, please continue to send me your comments. You are the only person I know that consistently reads my blog and I want to thank you for that. That helps to keep me going knowing that at least one person will read what I have to say. Like all authors with an ego, I appreciate feedback even if it is a little negative. Let's keep encouraging each other and building each other up in the Lord.

toby said...

Did you catch what Pastor Shawn spoke on this morning? (9/10/06) I think God's trying to tell me something.

Pete said...

You're both wrong.......hahahahhahahahaha

Toby said...

whatever pete. if you had a blog i would post many frown faces as a response to anything you wrote.