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This is a question that a lot of people are asking these days. With churches closing during lockdowns, requiring masks, and some even requiring vaccines to enter, Christians are beginning to wonder. Do we need to go to church?
The answer is no. And yes. Today, I’ll explain why, biblically, it is not necessary to attend church to be (or become) a Christian.
Church is not necessary.
1 John 2:27 tells us, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
He makes it very clear that we do not need any man to teach us. We have been anointed. God abides in us as He did in Jesus. And we receive teaching because of Him.
Even further, John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” It was not the church or a pastor or even our parents that made us Christians. It was God who chose us. And we, in return, agreed to be His. No man, no matter how well versed in the Bible, can save you. That honor is reserved for God alone.
Spirit of Truth
At our salvation, God sent us a Comforter. The one we call the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of Him for the first time to His disciples in John chapter 14. And only those who have been saved can receive Him.
John 14:17 says, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” There it is again. We have God dwelling in us. And He brings us truth.
Further on, Jesus explains what the Holy Ghost will do for us when we receive Him. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
It is clear.
The Holy Spirit, sent to us by the Father, who lives in us, teaches us all things. This is how we can explain the emergence of new Christians who live in areas where no church exists. They were chosen by God. Either they heard through the Bible or some other reading, or maybe even just by word of mouth. And they believed. The moment they believed, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell in them and teach them all things.
John expounds on this even further when he writes in chapter 16 verse 13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
Once again, we are told that the truth comes from the Spirit who is sent to us. And that it is He that will guide us and show us what is to come.
Physical attendance in church is not necessary.
So we see, that it is entirely possible to become, learn, and remain strong Christians without attending weekly church services. And this is good news for those of us who live in spiritual deserts. For those of us who find ourselves living in an increasingly materialistic world. A world that has rejected God for the idols of Mohammad, Buddha, celebrity, money, health, power, etc.
Nothing was made more abundantly clear to me that I was living in a nation that outright rejected God when the March lockdowns in 2020 also closed down all churches. During the Easter season. And not one church that I knew of in all of France even bothered to object.
We were left in a spiritual desert. The churches left us to fend for ourselves for weeks on end.
But God reminded me of a simple truth: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When our family was forced to worship alone, we did not despair. Rather we gloried that God was so merciful that He did not require the legalistic approach that perfect church attendance is necessary for salvation.
Instead, He made it easy for us. We need only be two or three and He will come. He sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. He chose us.
So what should we do instead of church?
If you do not have a physical church that you can join (for whatever reason), I highly suggest you find a virtual community. They are multiple choices. You can join a virtual Bible study. Or follow a specific minister on YouTube. Listen to a podcast. Or even join a Bible study group on social media. The possibilities are endless.
Here is a small list of some of my favorite online resources (that we use in our family):
- Sermons by James Knox
- Sojo Academy (Bible studies for women)
- Little Light Studios (YouTube discussion group using discernment in culture)
But most importantly, put God first in your daily life. Read the Bible. Sing hymns or worship songs. Sing alone or as a family. But keep God first. Because remember, we are the temple of the Lord. We are the church. Wherever we worship, God will be with us.
If, however, you do have a church community, do your best to attend regularly. Find out why here.