Must we attend church?

There is no evidence anywhere in Scripture that church attendance in a church building is required for the proper worship of God. One has to wonder, then, why so much money has been spent on building churches to meet in, especially when Acts 7:48 and 17:24 both say, “the most High does not dwell in temples made with (human) hands.”

On the other hand, doesn’t Hebrews 10:25 say we should “not give up meeting together”? And how can you do that without a building, especially in the middle of winter?

But when the church began in Acts 2 there were no official buildings for that first crop of Christians to meet in. And the Holy Spirit didn’t tell them to build or rent a building either. What the Holy Spirit did inspire was the desire to meet together, in the true spirit of Hebrews 10:25, so meeting together was important all right, but how did they do it without a building?

Well, according to Acts 2:46 they met in “the temple courts,” none of which were enclosed buildings. Solomon’s Porch, their most likely place of meeting, had a roof, but no walls. So they didn’t feel the need to isolate or lock themselves away in a “consecrated” spot or building. The only buildings they met in were people’s “homes” (verse 46). And there was no official church service in these homes either. The people just “ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”

So where did this idea of Christians having to meet in enclosed buildings come from? Well, it has to be a throwback to the Old Testament. David, for instance, wanted a proper building for God to dwell in, which God sanctioned but he never required or commanded it, nor did he command any other building or temple to be built. It was also a God-given custom for the Israelites to meet on specific days at places of his choosing (Deuteronomy 12:11), but Jesus changed all that in John 4:20-24 when he told the Samaritan woman at the well that God was no longer into “holy places” anymore, because “true worshippers” would now be “worshipping the Father in Spirit and in Truth.”

Do Christians no longer need to meet together at all, then? Well, according to Matthew 18:20 we’ll be missing out on something wonderful if we don’t meet together, because “where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” And just “gathering together” does that too; no mention of a required sermon by a trained minister. Paul was into “reasoning together” (Acts 18:4, 19), involving lots of dialogue and discussion, everyone involved – just like the good old days when the church began in Acts 2.

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